[This is the full text of the appendix to Our Christ. Here Brunner attacks the belief that Christ never existed as a real man, or that knowledge of the real man is utterly irrecoverable from the mythology that surrounds him. Editorial footnotes from the print edition of the English translation of Our Christ are numbered with a prefix letter "e" in order to distinguish them from authorial footnotes.]
Christ suffers most at the hands of the scholars
¶ My work Our Christ is now completed. In the face of opposition from the entire clerical establishment of religion, metaphysics and moralism, I have always aimed straight for the truth in lifting the superstitious overlay from the image of Christ. Now it is for the reader to go and contemplate this image in the Gospels. For it is the picture of Christ found in the Gospels. It has not been my intention to render the Gospels superfluous (otherwise I would have included more of their material in my own presentation); rather I wanted the reader to be in a position to read them for himself, but with new eyes, able to discern the manner of life and work of the real Christ. Come, give me your hand, and let us go to him. The Christ of superstition is dead: let the real Christ live—in the way he actually did. It remains for me to speak in opposition to the "critics," who seek to deny that any such Christ lived at all . . .
¶ Is it not a terrible thing that such a man as Christ can be torn to pieces by our learned critics, just as he was on the Cross! Christ still suffers most at the hands of the scholars. Their "criticism" has no idea what true criticism is, nor what its object should be! It is only this criticism that I am attacking here; no one who has read the foregoing work will try to suggest that I am recommending that the Bible be regarded as God's autograph, as a revelation on his part which is an organic, integral whole, totally without self-contradiction, nor that those who wrote it were mere calami spiritus s. dictantis e1 and reliable reporters of the events which actually took place. No one will imagine that I believe everything in the Bible, nor that I ascribe each of its separate books to the author whose name it bears and to the chronological period to which orthodox theologians allocate it. None of my readers will accuse me of knowing nothing, and of wanting to know nothing, of the critical methods or of accepting the Gospels without having a mind of my own. To impute such views to me would be to make a mockery of my entire work and of this book, which implicitly rejects everything that legitimate criticism finds to reject; and yet pursues its own path in criticism of the Gospel, for it is not merely negative; by exercising a positive criticism it presents—for the first time—an authentic portrayal of Christ's character. I ought perhaps to have made this point long since, at the very beginning, when foundations were being laid; all the same I will say it now, as it were, from the roof of the building already erected. Until now there has never been a real picture of the character of Christ because the necessary and indispensable means were never applied. What can we say about Christ if we are not really acquainted with Judaism, if we have not made the distinction between prophetic and pharisaic Judaism, if we are not aware of the part played by the oral Torah, of the relation of the ammé haaretz to educated society? And above all, what can we say about Christ unless we are aware of mysticism and genius and the Doctrine of the Spiritual Elite and the Multitude (which alone can explain how the historical Christ has become the dogmatic Christ), unless we ourselves are free from superstition? The so-called "critical" method has contributed nothing to the portrayal of Christ's genuine character. It is good for nothing: indeed, it is damaging and dangerous. My work is also a work of criticism, bringing out the original Christ, as it were, from the palimpsest of Christ. I speak as a critic against the misapplication of criticism, against a mischief which falsely claims to be a study of the Gospels and of Christ, falsely claims to concern itself with the most significant and positive figure of our literature and history. Of this Christ, Fichte says: "Thus, to the end of days, all rational men will bow low before this Jesus of Nazareth; and the more self-knowledge they have, the more humbly they will acknowledge the superabundant glory of this great manifestation." I speak as a critic against this misuse of criticism. I cannot repeat here what I have written elsewhere (in my major work, The Doctrine of the Spiritual Elite and the Multitude, in the essay "Spinoza against Kant" and in my Birthday Lettere2) about the misapplication of criticism. It is not necessary to repeat my exposure of our so-called "critics," who cannot grasp the distinction between the relative, the superstitious and the Absolute, who have no idea that criticism, of its very nature, only has meaning with regard to what is relative, to superstition, and that the only way they can criticize the "Absolute" is by dragging it down to the level of the relative and superstitious. It is always a failure of understanding, a perversity, on the part of criticism whenever it tries to criticize the Absolute. The contradictions and imperfections the learned critics discover in the Absolute are simply those which characterize their own thinking. In the face of the critics, what is absolute and perfect, the miracle of genius in its perfection, cannot stand, because the critics will not stand to face the demands of the Absolute. And all the nonsense they utter about the Absolute and the genius! They are like the bird on the telegraph wire, to which we have already referred: just as the bird sits on the telegraph wire without having the least notion of telegraphy, so our learned scholars sit on a great many things. And what do they do? The same thing as the bird on the wire. When a scholar approaches the phenomenon of Christ in such a way, he is no better than a Pharisee and a scribe with all his "critical" concerns. What he needs to do is to repent and amend himself from within. My own generation would do well to throw away this kind of criticism: let criticism begin with you and your superstition! Allow yourself to be criticized by Christ, surrender yourself entirely to his criticism, but do not use criticism to try to dispatch Christ, to do away with the existence of this greatest of critical geniuses. Do not try to eliminate the possibility of an existence like his so that nothing is left but an existence like yours. If a person is not overpowered and conquered, in his whole humanity, by the Genius of Christ, i.e., by what is authentically human in Christ, his own humanity has never been really awakened to life. Indeed, it is beyond awakening; he has no relationship with genuine humanity nor with the nature of genius. Such a person will not even sense the wholesome, transforming influence of genius, will not recognize the relationship which the genius's nature bears to his own, even when it is most perfectly manifested. He will apply his criticism and prove that the ordinary man cannot be so. But that is the most he can prove; it is as if he had only demonstrated that a sublime work of art or of philosophy cannot be produced by the reason, that reason must regard it as a miracle. For just as the work of art or of philosophy is a modification of tangible and conceptual reality, the mystical Genius is an inherently modified human being. He is a thoroughly different human being from all the others; he is, in fact, miraculous. These are the marvels of our human world, and those who understand them are in the world but not of it; such people comprehend the deep things of eternity—the marvels of philosophy, of art, of mystical Genius. The latter is denied by plain, vulgar common sense; it cannot discern it, just as the African Negro refused to accept the idea of ice on the basis of his experience of water alone. Of all the distortions performed by the υιοι του λογυ on the υιοι του οντος, of all philology's stupidities with regard to genius, this criticism of Christ is the most ridiculous. Any discussion of the nature of genius is ridiculous in the extreme unless it recognizes that genius cannot be grasped by "common sense," but only by the Spirit's spark of life, by love for the genius and for the truth of Being which he embodies; it can only be grasped by a spiritual eros.
¶ It is utterly ridiculous. For the critique of the genius has not only negative elements but positive ones as well; if the criticism which disputes the historical reality of Christ is right, it does not follow that Christ is abolished: we need to visualize what will still be there, for something (and what a something!) will still be there. The picture of Christ will remain, this picture, for which criticism will find the most nonsensical explanation, as we shall see—this picture of Christ which, in itself, is nothing less than the stringent demonstration of the existence of Christ.
¶ This picture is not the kind of vague outline of some miracle-worker, such as Simon Magus or Apollonius of Tyana. (Hierocles contrasts the latter with Christ and regards him as credible, whereas Christ is unworthy of belief. For "the deeds of Jesus have been magnified by Peter and Paul and other, equally ignorant, lying and deceitful men, whereas the deeds of Apollonius have been set forth by Maximum of Aegis, by Damis, a philosopher who enjoyed his society, and by Philostratos of Athens, who were all men of great learning": here we see again what men of great learning in any age are capable of believing, just like our critics today.) The picture of Christ is unlike that kind of miracle-worker, in whose existence and in whose miracles one is free to believe or not, of whom nothing has survived but his name and the fables of his miracles, a person who merely engages our historical interest; we live in the stream of history which takes its origin from Christ; our present, our very life, is vitally linked to him. The picture of Christ contains within it those world-transforming miracles which continue to display their power, none of us doubts them, and they would be impossible apart from the Miracle-worker himself. This picture is the nature of the genius, and it includes the existence of the genius; in other words we have in it an ontological proof for the existence of the personality of Christ.
¶ Yet it is not the kind of ontological proof that men have tried to adduce for the God of superstition: the concept of God implies the most perfect Being, and therefore he must have existence, otherwise his perfection would be less than complete. This is mistaken, as Kant pointed out—just as mistaken as Kant's own view of the ontological proof and of God. Of itself, the concept of God cannot yield the existence of God as a thing, in the way a thaler 'exists.' Imagined thalers are not real thalers, as Kant remarks quite properly on the basis of his entirely superstitious concept of God as a Being existing in the mode of a 'thing.' This is not what is meant by the ontological proof of the Deity (which, by the way, is already found in Cleanthus, Sext. Emp. Adv.-Math. IX, 88f.), nor is it what is meant by the divinity of the ontological proof. The ontological proof does not aim to relativize the absolute in the manner of superstition; it does not aim to reify God; it does not refer to Kant's object-God in heaven, whose existence could be compared with the objective reality of thalers. God's existence does not resemble the existence of things: it is a spiritual Being, and the God of the ontological proof is not the God of Kant but the God of Christ, of Eckhart and of Spinoza. His Being is absolute. Of this God, the ontological proof says that his being ideated is his Being. The fact that we conceive of him is his Being in us and our being in him. And if only we really think, we are bound to conceive of him, otherwise we would not be able to think of anything else at all (for we ideate everything else in purely relative terms, and we are merely relative)! There is nothing wrong with such ontological proof except the way in which it was misused in the service of superstition—to prove the existence of the God of superstition, the heavenly personage which men have kneaded out of the Absolute Being—and its being called proof; for there is no question of a proof here. The Spirit can no more be "proved" than the genius. A person experiences the Spirit within him, and genius is experienced as Spirit: the Spirit cannot be demonstrated to those who are devoid of Spirit and genius cannot be proved to the critic. The so-called ontological proof is not concerned with proving anything, but with stating a proposition which makes philosophy aware of its proper theme in the briefest possible formula. Its entire theme is the absolute Being, Jahve, ον. All philosophy is ontology; it takes its stand, with all its logical procedures, on this ontological maxim.1 We are speaking of something entirely different here, however; we are speaking of a genuine ontological proof which really deserves the name, not an existence that is dredged out of the concept. For here the ον, the ουσια, the essentia, the existere intellectu actually includes the existere actu.e3 We are speaking here of the ontological proof of Christ; his existence as a thing, this human-thingly reality in history, actually does follow from the concept of him which everyone, even the "insipiens,"e4 has. We have the concept of Christ, of his character and activity, of the continuing influence of his character and being. Unlike the ontological proof of God in heaven, it is not the idea of perfection which leads directly to the idea of his existence: in the case of Christ it is the actuality of his perfection which obliges us to accept his existence. Thus we are logically constrained to see his concrete, individual, human existence as the cause of the concrete effects we experience, as that which fulfils the conditions for contingency. We must either deny his influence or go on to assert his existence, otherwise it will be or like trying to take the three angles of the triangle without accepting the triangle itself. For what the critics come out with is no less nonsensical: they suppose that the picture of this Christ has been invented, that it is a tendentious fabrication, and yet what comes from it is a miracle beyond all measure in its rank luxuriance, putting all the miracles of the Bible and the stories of the saints into the shade. All the little children and old women of the world have never gone in for the kind of monstrous extravagances that our modern critics are prepared to believe. For the grinning leer of "criticism" is proposing no less a madness than this: that the genius which is denied to Christ, this manifest genius in its incomparable, glorious wholeness, should be attributed to the assembly of fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots who have handed this picture down to us.
¶ So this company of Jewish fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots is supposed to have invented all the qualities of this genius! And apropos of the hypothesis that religious syncretism was current at the time of Christ even among Jews, I attach no great importance to it; it is, of course, an assumption secundum ignorantium criticorum,e5 and it could only be made by someone with a frightening ignorance of the context of contemporary life and thought as reflected in the talmudic literature. And I put no weight whatsoever on the considerable bundle of hypotheses which attributes to these Jewish fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots the most detailed knowledge of the cults of Mithras, Adonis, Tammuz, Attis and Osiris, the nature myths and divinity myths of the entire world, including those of Buddhism; as well as Alexandrine philosophical speculation (which in part developed only subsequently). It goes on to assume that they were able to weave all this most subtly into the whole corpus of biblical literature (with which they were, of course, likewise thoroughly familiar!), resulting in the story of the Genius's baptism, passion and excruciating death, together with all its symbolism. For the sake of argument I will even accept this as proven (which I do not): let us assume that these Jewish fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots had all this knowledge—of which the most educated Jew of the day had not the faintest notion; they were so learned that their fellow Jews would have broken out into a cold sweat had they known, and their appearance as completely ignorant and naive blockheads was simply a very convincing deception. What would it prove? Nothing. For whence would they have got this decidedly "genial" ability to marshal the vast quantity of learned evidence? Whence this spirit? For only the Spirit can provide proof. Arthur Drews has proved nothing. In his book "Die Christusmythe" the critic Drews puts together the crudest nonsense criticism can bring forth, in his complete ignorance of the Jewish conditions about which he writes. In this book he adduces the following hymn in praise of Buddha in the Lalita Wistara (which, I may add, is an account of the life of Buddha widespread in Tibet and China). It runs like this: "In the world of creatures, long tormented by the evils of natural corruption, Thou didst appear, 0 King of Physcians, and didst redeem us from all evils. At Thine Advent, 0 our Leader, all unrest passes away and men and gods are filled with well-being. Thou art the Guardian, the Firm Ground, the Head and Leader of the world, with Thy gentle and benevolent Spirit. Thou art the best of physicians, bringing the complete cure and healing sickness with an unerring touch. Pre-eminent in Thy mercy and compassion, Thou governest the things of the world. Outstanding in moral integrity and good works, acting from the depths of Thine own self, utterly pure, Thou hast attained perfection, and now, Thyself redeemed, as the Herald of the Four Truths, Thou wilt redeem all the other creatures. The demon's might has been conquered by wisdom, courage and gentleness. Thou hast acquired the highest, the immortal dignity. We greet Thee, Conqueror of the host of the liar. Thou, whose word is inerrant, who hast walked the path of eternal life free of error and passion, dost merit honour and worship beyond compare in heaven and on earth. Thou refreshest gods and men with Thine utterly lucid words. In virtue of the radiance which proceeds from Thee, Thou art the Conqueror of the entire universe, the Lord of gods and of men. Thou hast appeared, the Light of the Law, the Destroyer of perdition and ignorance, full of humility and majesty. Sun, moon and fire no longer shine in Thy presence and in the presence of the imperishable glory of Thy richness. Thee I greet, who teachest us to discern what is true and what false, spiritual Leader of the most sweet voice, whose spirit is at peace, whose senses are restrained, whose heart is perfectly quiet, who teachest what shall be taught, who instructest the assembly of gods and men: I greet Thee, Sakhyamuni, the greatest of men, the marvel of the three thousand worlds, to whom honour and worship is due in heaven and on earth, from gods and men."
¶ Having quoted this passage, Arthur Drews flares up in triumph from among the comfortable coals of his wonted tedium: "In the face of this, what has become of Jesus' 'uniqueness'?" Evidently he implies that those who wrote the Christ-myths were acquainted with this hymn in praise of Buddha. I am a peace-loving man, I do not like quarrels, I will concede that our erudite fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots knew by heart this hymn in praise of Buddha—but even then it will not do to say that, when they came to translate from Sanskrit to Aramaic or Greek, they cleverly avoided a literal translation which would merely change the names (Christ instead of Sakhyamuni). In fact, the terms used in this praise of Buddha leave one cold; they have neither smell nor taste and are about as relevant to Christ as a reading from a cookery book is to eating. Christ is the bread of life; in the evangelists' presentation he pulsates with warm life-blood, and as to the Spirit which proceeds from his mouth—I am a peace-loving man for as long as I can be, but then I just have to laugh! With or without the permission of Herr Drews, Christ's Spirit can certainly be described as "unique," even in comparison with the Spirit of Buddha. Paul Deussen, a connoisseur of Buddhism (who does not have the ability to laugh, yet is of the opinion that "only a fool can doubt the historicity of the person of Jesus") speaks of the "unique personality of Jesus, besides which even that of a Buddha seems pale."
¶ How could the united efforts of these superstitious, stupid and illiterate people have brought into being such a highly-wrought literary work of art representing an undeniably unique and original genius? For he is both unique and uniquely important; his like has never been seen before nor since, and we cannot conceive what the world would have been like without him, for he has had an essentially determining effect on the history of the human race. If in fact it was not a life, if it was only an idea, a cobbled romance of the God of the Mandaean cult, as Arthur Drews thinks, against a background of Jewish Messianic expectations, how could it give rise to something not already latent within it? Whence this lofty figure, this tremendous power, this huge influence? The effect should have ceased once people stopped believing in the Mandaean God and the Messiah. For it is a very long time now since the God of the Mandaean cult was worshipped, and as for the Messiah of the Jews of that time—are we in a position, with our conceptual approach, to enter in any way into these hopes and expectations, into this faith? What concern is it of ours? Does it cause even a single man to cleave to Christ? And was Christ this Messiah? Christ's influence was spread through totally different channels, and his influence has not ceased spreading, indeed it increases all the more as superstition declines: precisely because it has nothing in common with superstition and everything in common with Truth.
¶ Are we to suppose that Jewish novelists of this kind were able to work together and produce the primal phenomenon of such a Genius, putting into his mouth words which are Spirit-filled at every point, words of such wit and penetration, such pointed hyperboles (guzmot)? Could they have put together these tremendous, breathtaking hyperboles from the realm of mystical passion, which express the spiritual point of view and make concessions neither to the contemporary situation nor to any possibility of practical feasibility? Could they have produced this combination of wit and Spirit, so totally relevant both to the moment and to the pressing need of the entire future of man? Whence this art of expressing words that refresh and that pass over into pregnant metaphors as gently as spring passes into summer?2 Whence this amazing psychological discernment, whence these instances of overpowering strength and truth in every situation? What could give rise to all the countless subtleties in the portrayal of his character which were no part of their plan, their construction, and which had nothing to do with either the Mandaean cultic God or with the Jewish Messiah? How could they have conceived this tremendous man of heroism and passion, with that self-awareness which we recognize as the mark of Christ? Where could they have got this self-awareness which speaks, not of God, but only of himself, yet of himself as of God; which despoils the God in heaven of his power and love and forgives sinners their trespasses? Whence this brimming self-awareness with all its resonances, its inexhaustible store of new, lapidary words? It is never vain, always magnificently naive and tasteful, and as if self-evident; an iron band of Self-consciousness embracing all those great thoughts of his! And how did they come to light upon those features which belittled Christ in their eyes and according to their moral views? Did they intend, with their portrayal of the disturbed relationship between Christ and Mary, to set forth an example of filial behaviour; or would they, with their own moral awareness, have forgiven the adulteress as she was forgiven by Christ? Adultery, the adultery of this adulteress, was to be spared punishment: no one but Christ could conceive of such a thing! Which of these men, what man at all could think of forgiving sinners their sins and of forgiving the sin of blasphemy? Where is this prescribed in the Mandaean cult or in the Messianic passages?! And why, contrary to their intention of fabricating a coherent story, did they make the figure of Christ so suspiciously ambiguous with regard to his divine Sonship, his Messiahship and his Davidic pedigree, even going so far as to make him actually deny the latter (Mt. 22:41ff.)? Is this required by the Messianic portions of the Old Testament? Or is there anything in them to suggest that the Messiah, the Christ, would treat the Torah, with its commandments, the mitzvot, would treat its representatives in so cavalier a fashion as this Christ did? Do we find our Christ's polemics against the representatives of the Torah, the Pharisees, prefigures in the Messianic passages? If we had nothing else but the polemical relationship between Christ and the Pharisees, these absolutely unique polemics of genius (polemos=war) would alone suffice as a striking proof of Christ's real existence. They are as unique and inimitable as the polemics of Socrates against the Sophists. Thus the evangelists show us the Genius, the Genius again and again!—and let us not for a moment forget what it means to apply such concentrated power to the portrayal of genius: he has to be shown acting as a genius (and suffering as a genius) at all times; he must always be shown speaking as a genius, and as the particular genius, Christ. From the very first word spoken by the child Jesus Christ to the last words of his life, and in his responses to particular situations, all of them are imparted with such "genial" wit that their brilliance comes down undimmed to our own day. Such are his ripostes, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's," and "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up"—in response to the challenge to work miracles—or his answer to the scornful question "Who art thou?": "In the first place, I am he that is speaking to you" (Jn. 8:25), i.e., I am worth as much as my words, addressed to you, since you are so unworthy! Or his reply to the accusation that he was working on the Sabbath: "My father worketh hitherto, and I too work" (cf. p. 228), or the way he acts and speaks when they accuse the adulteress before him (Jn. 8:6-8): he crouches down and writes in the sand. Such things do not trouble him in the slightest; but when they keep asking him, he stands up: "He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone." Then he bends down again and goes on writing in the sand. This is always how it is, whenever he is spurred to speak, at every moment. Many of the parables, these most perfect literary creations, are doubtless the result of instantaneous inspiration; Christ was the most magnificent master of improvisation.3 Again and again, in whatever he says, he displays the highest calibre of genius; in his conversations, his table-talk, his addresses to the crowd, his angry, impassioned denunciations, his satire—for Christ was a master of the most biting satire—his discussion with his disciples, and in disputations. Let us not forget for a moment the tremendous skill needed to portray him speaking in such different ways and yet always as Christ, in a language which is as far from the theological tradition as from reflection, a language which directly lays bare his inner self, manifesting the vivid richness of absolute naivete, uttering ultimate and profound things with the simplicity and naturalness of the child. His words are always informed by that immense mystical will of his, and punctuated, as in the Supper's "This is my flesh ... this is my blood," by those ineffably sublime instances of mystical self-consciousness, at the nexus of most wondrous layers and interrelationships of thought. If we were not so used to these words, our reaction to their incomparable style and resonance would be entirely different: we would be astounded, utterly alienated and terrified. For they show us the Genius, the highest, the perfect mystical prophetic Genius, completely at one with himself—for, unlike other prophets, he never speaks of an inner struggle accompanying his sinking into the world of inspiration; inspiration has always been his element (cf. p. 166).—But I am a dangerously feeble advocate in such a weighty matter: why do I keep saying that they show us the Genius? For they show us more: they show us, in stark relief, the most extreme case of the relationship between the genius and the age: they show us the genius and his times facing one another as the most bitter enemies! This is not how the cultic spirit of the Messianic passages had envisaged things, but it is what the truth of Christ the Genius required. What an incomparable portrayal of Christ, faithful to the unique truth of his personality, we have in his battle against the age, in the way he strikes at the heart of every issue with all his anger and all his love, and in the way he so desires to be loved that he declares that anyone who wants to come to him must hate father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, even his own life!
¶ The critics must have missed all this, just as they failed to notice that the account of Christ's struggles and suffering bears the stamp of inner truthfulness and sincerity. Compared with the other biblical and rabbinic writings, this am haaretz literature is second to none in ethical power and emphasis; it is thus as specifically Jewish as they are. The critics must have failed to notice this, while others, who have noticed it, find it truly remarkable. To the latter, even the merely outward story of Christ can seem extremely strange, by no means to be explained by reference to Messianic scriptures. The idea that Christ's destiny can even be seen to conform to these Messianic texts is nothing but a hidebound lack of thought! (And how the New Testament is disparaged if its entire originality is already to be found in the Old!) If we were really to construct the destiny of the Messiah from the Messianic passages, it would look quite different from that of our Christ; for the latter involves the crucifixion, for instance, which cannot genuinely be found in them4—for the Jews were expecting a triumphant Messiah, the very opposite of a suffering Messiah. You only need to peep into the Gospels to see that Christ's destiny is quite different from the Messianic expectations which are linked to him in these same Gospels, and by his own disciples! The entire Gospel of Matthew has the one and only purpose of showing how Christ's life conforms to the prophecies of Scripture; how different, therefore, how magnificent and wondrous is the life of Christ as presented to us by Matthew's Gospel! The evangelists believe in Christ the Messiah; no more than the critics do they notice that their Messiah Christ speaks about his Messiaship and his divine Sonship in a way totally unlike their Jewish national Messiah—which he never became. But what do the evangelists and the critics notice! The whole Jewish people observed that Jesus was not their Messiah, as do all Jews right up to the present day; the only ones who still fail to observe it are the critics. The critics will even find it foretold in the Messianic passages that the Messiah was predestined to have the kind of disciples who notice nothing; in the end, because of the amazing reliance they place on these texts, they will even find themselves there, clearly portrayed and predicted: after two thousand years these critics were predestined to come with their particular understanding, their particular inability to notice anything.
¶ The story of Christ is as remarkable as it is true. But the most remarkable, the truest thing, as we have already observed, is the unprecedentedly vivid characterization of the man Christ, which is beyond explanation, however much erudition is adduced to show his similarity to other miracle-workers, other saviour-figures. Just look at the authentic literature concerning other miracle-men and you will see how different they are. Compare the Apollonius of Tyana portrayed by Philostratos as a deliberate foil to Christ, on the basis of traditional material, with the Christ of the Gospels. The difference between miserable poetic invention and sublime truth will be apparent; it will be obvious that it is impossible to invent such a sublime human being piecemeal. Moreover, compare the sublime reality of this man with a genuinely sublime work of literature, a work which springs from abstraction and thus does not seem to require a solid ground in reality; put Christ's story beside the legend of Buddha. The legend of Buddha is beautiful and profound, but Christ and his story are true. Christ lives, whereas the picture of Buddha is stiff, rigid, ossified. Everything that goes on around Christ bears the mark of authentic life, exhibits the living vitality, both manifest and hidden, of its organic structure; Christ is surrounded by an abundant wealth of individuality in his disciples of both sexes, all is in dramatic motion; around Buddha, by contrast, everything has an Indian rigidity and lifelessness. His conversions are mere categories, his disciples are categories, they do not touch one another, they do not share relationships, they stand like tree-trunks, speak like automatons, and none of them reveals the least trace of individual character. It is as if, like plants, the only thing of interest is the class to which they belong. They stand there, indistinguishable, row upon row, like the Buddhist teachings with their endless reiterations—which are not the result of a superabundant fulness which takes time to unload its treasures, as in the case of Beethoven, with his conclusions which pour forth, delta-like, in their many estuaries. Beethoven's mighty river is so full at the end of its course that it creates its own obstacles; only by meandering around them and dividing into several streams can it finally debouch and reach its destination. By contrast, the reiterations of Buddhist teaching are nothing but logical repetitions, they are equally insipid throughout the whole flow of speech, which is not animated by a single wave from beginning to end. The end merely coincides with the final enumeration of all the items. Eventually, in this sober and grave methodism, the truths are only heard through a veil of mist, as in a dream. Here there is nothing of the gripping vitality of Christ's authentically spoken words; Christ lives and teaches as a man, whereas Buddha—and the real Buddha also only taught orally, writing nothing down—Buddha comes to us as a system of teachings of textbook conventionality. The man Buddha does not emerge from it as a magnificent and free personality. Buddha is the ideal of the Indian monk, which is why the traditions regarding our Buddha are similar to those of the Jains about the founder of their sect, their Buddha. Practically all we know of the man Buddha comes from his teaching, and what we do know of him shows him to be great, but not really great like Christ.5 As we have said, then, tradition gives us no real portrayal of the character of Buddha: the least disciple of Christ is characterized more individually than Buddha. The figure of Buddha does not exhibit one of those powerful traits which fill to overflowing the account of the wondrous life of Christ the man.
¶ I would almost have to reprint the whole book here, in order to give due attention to all the features, both tender and tempestuous, which comprise Christ's characterization in the Gospels, and to point out anew the integrity of this portrayal. In general terms, we can say that, in the whole of Jewish literature apart from this, in the whole of Greek and Indian literature, there is not a single example even remotely similar in its means of depicting human character. Furthermore, nothing in the modern psychological novel approaches this portrayal; one could wish that the novelists would bring into being a man such as this once in a while. Why do Drews and Lublinski not take a few ideal passages of our literature and conjure up and fabricate a figure like this with such features of bronze, such vitality, and with similar impact on the history of mankind? The older critics, including David Friedrich Strauss, might help them—but it would take us too far, and in any case it would be superfluous, if we were to discuss him in detail. Strauss is only Strauss; as an exponent of historical criticism he suffers, like the other critics, from ignorance of the times and ignorance of Christ. In the end we are left with Christ against Strauss; this tiny trickle of water thinks it can extinguish the blaze which encompasses the world! Furthermore (and this is a most remote demonstration) every one of Shakespeare's characters—leaving aside one small detail, i.e., that no character of his has ever had a comparable influence on world history, and concentrating for the moment on psychological realities—every one of Shakespeare's characters is put into the shade by this character who is supposed to have been invented in passing by these plebeians. What is Hamlet compared with Christ! The depths attained by these most consummate of peasant poets are utterly unfathomable. A great genius, even, may give us a lifelong portrayal of himself, in books, letters and conversations—but who will say that Goethe, of whose life we know a great deal, is presented to us as tangibly and vividly as Christ, of whose life we know practically nothing? (And everyone has a picture of Christ, whereas a very few educated people have one of Goethe!) How many people, indeed, how many poets there must have been among the Jews at that time, more highly gifted with imagination, psychology and language than our Goethe—so the critics surmise—that they were able to describe a fictitious person so much more perfectly than Goethe was able to describe himself! And, moreover, it was not their intention really to give such a description anyway! No image of a human being arises before us with such rounded fullness of life as the image of this most remarkable of all men, the Christ of the Evangelists. And what sly foxes these Evangelists were! With their stupendous erudition, they pretended to be such blockheads that they did not even understand the words, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees" and replied, "It is because we took no bread" (Mt. 16:7); when their Master was sorrowful unto death, they slept, and when he was in mortal danger, they ran away. Thus they give themselves the comic roles in their novel, they play the part of the unwitting comic fool, pretending that they do not understand a word of Christ's spoken wisdom, of these truths which open up the depths of heaven and earth—truths which were taught by no one but themselves, which they put into the mouth of their fictional hero! Such rogues, pulling the wool over our eyes like this? Nor can they have been motivated by praiseworthy modesty, for on the other hand they exhibit the most shameless self-consciousness of genius. But it would be wrong to hold them responsible, for they must have been quite mad; not only were these great writers a million times more stupid than what they wrote, in the end they even believed in it themselves, as if it were real. They became so entangled in the net of their own delusion that they let themselves be killed for the sake of their fictional hero. They must have been really out of their minds, really demented geniuses; that explains why, whenever they seem to be blockheads, they are in fact hiding their own genius—or else they were insane blockheads simulating genius. Now, however, Herr Arthur Drews and Herr Samuel Lublinski have got behind it all, whatever it may be; so far they have not told us what they have got behind.
¶ No. It Is all too much. At this point religion is after all better than free criticism, not subordinated to reason. We cannot bring ourselves to say that they were all such tremendous geniuses and such strange swindlers, or else that they were so basely stupid, limited and demented. But we must say something, and since it is usual for novelists to put their own ideas into the mouths of their heroes, and since speech betrays the fool just as the ass is known by his ears, let us rather say that the authors wrote divino spiritu impulsi eoque dictantee6 : everything, both ideas and words, was infused into their minds supernaturally by God. For, faced with two miracles, it is better to choose the lesser; better to hold that God gave inspiration to the Evangelists than that the critics have given us anything. If they did, we would have to get rid of it in nature's way as quickly as possible. No, indeed, at such a point we can only shake our heads: that the combined efforts of Jewish fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots could have put together an original genius of such proportions—no, I cannot believe in this Jewish miracle, in spite of the Jews and in spite of the critics; faith cannot be compelled. I could believe in Christianity without Christ, but I cannot believe in Christ without Christ. I must believe in the reality of Christ; he was either a God or a fool or a charlatan—Julian calls him the greatest trickster and mountebank who ever lived (Cyril, Contr.Jul. 11)—or else the perfect mystical genius. I believe in Christ as the perfect mystical Genius, for he is too exalted, too significant a man to be either a charlatan or a fool, and altogether too human to be God. However, I would sooner question whether perhaps he was a knave or a fool than entertain the petty view that he was either a God or the invention of people of that kind. At this point criticism and fantasy come to a halt; criticism's fantasy must be limited by reason and possibility. Critics, no less than believers in God, must not sin against causal thinking.
¶ It is astounding enough that people such as these were able to hand on such words. They were homines sine litteris et idiotaee7 (Acts 4:13), ignorant and limited ammé haaretz; this is how I see them, in spite of the critics; they were genuinely inadequate and lacking in understanding. Genius did not descend upon them, nor was it parcelled out among them. Yet, because of their involvement and their memory—and memory, at that time and under those conditions, had an entirely different role, use and power (cf. p. 177)—these so imperfect people were able to repeat these words so perfectly that thought and its expression are never in conflict, that the magnificent content is not diminished nor the cutting edge dulled. Thus they repeated the spoken words which have had an incomparably greater effect than all the other written words of the world taken together, and which have shaped mankind's history more powerfully than the elemental forces of nature. With very few exceptions, these words are the words of Christ; and as far as the words of Christ are concerned, the evangelists are as entirely reliable as they are in regard to their portrayal of Christ's character, which is inseparable from these words. All this must have been possible; these ammé haaretz must have handed it all down—otherwise it would not be there. Soon, of course, the principal words, sayings and parables were written down by those who could write, but who were evidently no more gifted intellectually than those who carried out the oral transmission. For the books are not called the Gospel of Matthew, of Mark, etc., but the Gospel according to Matthew, according to Mark, κατα Ματθαιον, Μαρκον etc. (which could imply that the title was added later by others, but with the purpose of showing that Matthew, Mark, etc., were the original authors). These chief sayings of Christ (λογια κυριακα) which were first to be written down formed a nucleus around which elements of genuine tradition, along with additions, crystallized, forming what we now have as the New Testament, a whole branch of the Jewish literature in the time. Compared with the rabbinic literature in which practically all the sap had gone into the leaves, this branch of am haaretz literature was heavy with luscious fruits.6 So we must not always be criticizing these men for the inadequacy of their transmission; rather, we should be astonished and praise them for so faithfully having kept these words in their purity. What critic or expert among us—quite apart from the fact that he would have neither the taste, the sense of truth, nor (least of all) the will for such a task—which of our experts would be able to reproduce such spoken words in all their greatness?! These fishermen, tax-collectors, sinners and harlots, however, were not as limited as our experts, and thus they deserve the greater glory which they enjoy in the world. They had not been fattened up on an erudite diet, they lacked the limitation imposed by specialization; unlike the experts, they had no self-erected fence in front of their eyes to obstruct their vision.
¶ All the same, they had their own native limitations, and made Christ smaller than he was. Renan was right to say, "The character of Jesus, far from being embellished by his biographers, was actually toned down by them" (albeit it must be observed that the Evangelists had no intention of being biographers; they were producing occasional writings with quite a different aim). Thus, in the very earliest times, Gnostics maintained that Christ's speeches, as we have them, came only in part from God and in part from the Demiurge; the apostles had added and mixed up things which did not belong together (Irenaeus, Contra Haereticos 111,22). How could it be otherwise in the case of a man uttering words of such significance, which were then transmitted by people who measured him according to the range of their own judgment, whose superstition endowed him with the dimensions of a miracle-working and soteriological Christ? But what concern is that of ours? Why should we be troubled by the miracles of the Evangelists or the critics' excision of them? Of what interest to us is the "Life of Jesus," whether and how far it is a literary invention of the Evangelist, whether and how far it has been distorted by partisan concerns and apologetics, and by dogmatic speculation? What we are interested in is the life of Christ, Christ's character, the uniqueness of Christ's soul, from which these words proceed; we are concerned with this expression of life, which of course bears witness to the life from which it springs, to the existence of the greatest of all mystical geniuses. And as far as that is concerned, the Gospels are not imaginative literature, and because they are not, but rather are naďve portrayals of the most extraordinary human character, which cannot be compared to any other, they have produced this fundamentally unique depiction of character which, as we have seen, is based on no literary model and, with regard to its technique and style, is beyond imitation. This is infinitely more valuable than the kind of biography the learned critics would put together, which, according to them, no genius can do without—and which is nothing other than a dwarfing of the giant. In the Synoptic Gospels, however, thanks to the coincidence of very special circumstances, we have a unique situation in which what is great has remained great, and all Christ's spoken words have remained spoken. On this one occasion we receive him who is great because of his naive heart which has been preserved from the sinful Fall of erudition, from the vanity of wanting to be of significance on one's own account, of wanting to be a producer. Is there a single person with productive gifts, even to a lesser degree, who would be able to devote himself to the living genius, and in the long run subordinate himself to him and be at the service of his work without becoming vain or presumptuous? Human nature seems hardly able to tolerate it, certainly not in the long run. Wherever a man wishes to do something, he always has ulterior motives; ultimately he is always out for himself. Even Paul would not have been the Paul in whom Christ alone lived if he had been one of his actual disciples. Christ appeared to Paul; thus he was free to let Christ alone live in him; if, however, he had come into contact with Christ during his earthly life, his personality would have been both exalted and humiliated, and this might well have caused Paul to sicken and to indulge in the folly of self-exaltation as he tried to demonstrate that he had both the freedom and the power to be a Christ on his own account! In the long run egoism cannot keep silence in the presence of the living; pride must assert itself, along with the overestimation of one's own strength. The very fact that the genius's disciples think themselves able to be creative (this is how it is with those who imagine they are with child, yet never give birth), makes them unclean, unfit to be in the service of his work. Similarly, even the educated are a threat to the genius, for they never reproduce the Spirit authentically. They only imitate it, and hence remain incapable of recognizing the Spirit as it is manifested in the newly-arising or the not-yet-accepted genius, or the genius who is commonly imitated. Christ seems not to have had a single educated or learned person among his disciples: they were all ammé haaretz, involved in only the loosest way in the age's imitation, and thus he could detach them even more from it. What these ammé haaretz produced, the Synoptic Gospels, are the least vainglorious and in every respect utterly innocent literary creations. They are devoid of the least literary awareness, written in the colloquial Greek of the time, without claiming, or even thinking of, continuing influence in succeeding ages. The synoptic writers did not think about the future; they did not believe in any future, for they believed in the fast approaching end of the world. Luke (1:1-4) writes his gospel for a single person, Theophilus! The Synoptic Gospels contain the most naive imaginable testimony of those who were witnesses of the Genius's life and thoughts, and on whom he made a shattering impression. And as for us, we now believe in his existence because his Being—as these eternally inspiring Gospels testify, with their anguished and exultant voices—because his Being compels us to believe in his existence, because his Being and his influence presuppose his existence. Anyone who regards the Gospels as pure invention because he is incapable of distinguishing belief in the existence of the Genius, Christ, from belief in the supernatural and the miracles of Christ, is beyond help. As far as we are concerned, the Gospels are to be regarded as historical sources to the extent that they speak of Christ the Genius, whose words are a demonstration of his life.
¶ However, there are further historical proofs which we must not fail to mention. As we know, apart from the New Testament itself, literary testimony is slight and uncertain, and we also know why: because Christ was such a genius. The greater the genius, the less effect he will have directly on his age, the less attention he will attract from those who would be in a position to record interesting details about his life. The genius is invisible to those who surround him; those who are closest to him will have forgotten the little they (poorly enough) observed, or else they will have died, before the age begins to take casual notice of him. And even when it does, it will be for its own purposes, which are not those of the genius. For instance, we can see how rapidly practically everything of a personal nature, concerning a man of some signficance, is forgotten, in the almost entirely inconsequential attempt by J.H. Mackay to produce a life of Max Stirner. Max Stirner died in Berlin in 1856. No critic has ever had doubts about the fact that he lived, nor did any critic concern himself with his life. And now, in spite of the most industrious research which began immediately after Stirner's death, there is almost nothing left to discover and describe. This is how things are in modern times, which, in that respect as in all essentials, are as like former times as two peas. Thus, in our case too, the argumentum e silentio must be seen as evidence that, at that time, criticism in Galilee and Judaea failed to take the proper interest in Christ that it ought to have done. Now, therefore, it should hold its tongue.
¶ The critics didn't give a damn about Christ; only the devil, with his devil's criticism, concerned himself with Christ; only moralistic criticism paid attention to him. So it is that, in the traditions of rabbinic and talmudic literature, which undoubtedly go back to the infamous events of his life, we hear nothing but infamy. First, there are scattered remarks here and there in the Talmud tractates, and then, as a response to the inhuman persecutions undertaken by the Church Triumphant, they are collected together in the Toledot Yeshu, which achieved currency in the 13th century. The fortunes of Christ in Jewish literature are similar to those of Luther in Catholic literature; yet Christ was a far more terrible disaster for the Jews, for the life and fate of each individual Jew, than Luther ever was for Catholics.
¶ Not a single one of the passages referring to Jesus in the older, uncensored editions of the Talmud and Midrash, the last of which appeared in 1644 in Amsterdam, gives us any significant information about Christ. (All these passages were deleted in the later, censored editions.) For these passages are relatively few, mostly to be found in the tractate Sanhedrin, and the Talmudic scholars were not concerned with Christ the Genius but with superficialities of a largely fabulous kind, just like our critical scholars. Some passages seem possibly to refer to a different Jesus, who would have lived approximately a hundred years before Jesus Christ, and who is confused with the latter in Sanhedrin 107b, where Yehoshua ben Perakhia is described as the teacher of our Jesus rather than of this other Jesus. But I regard this as improbable, the result, more likely, of anachronistic obscurantism. Quite apart from this, we cannot be sure when the passages which definitely refer to Jesus Christ originated. Some of them can be shown to originate in the 4th century. Thus the Talmud does not yield a single proof of the real historical existence of Christ, in which the Jews believed as naturally as Christians did. In itself this belief on the part of the Jews—least of all in the later period, when they were living among Christians—would prove nothing. It would be of greater significance in the earlier period, when the rabbis of the Babylonian and Palestinian schools had no contact whatsoever with Christians because there were as yet none there. They were not concerned with Christianity, did not concern themselves with the prominent and undoubtedly historical personages of Christianity (it is not likely that the Doeg Achitophel and Gehazi of Sanhedrin 106b and 107b are to be understood as Christian apostles). It is striking how seldom Christianity is referred to in the literature of the Talmud and Midrash, even its later parts. Even indirect references are relatively few (as, for example, Exodus Rabba, 31b, against the Trinity, which was an abomination to the Jews: "I am the first, I have no Father; I am the last, I have no Son; there is no God beside me, I have no Brother"; Y. Taanc II,65b: "If a man says to you, I am God, he lies"; and Sanh. 56a יסוי תא יסוי הכיe8 where the first Yose must definitely be taken as Jesus, who lifts himself up against Yose the Father, i.e., blasphemes against God.) But precisely because Christianity does not receive due attention in the Talmud, all the more weight attaches to these references to Christ. No doubt the more malicious ones go back to the early times when memories of Christ's life were still alive, and to the later times which were marked by bitterness as a result of increasing oppression at the hand of Christians, whereas the more moderate and indifferent accounts probably stem from the intermediate period and originate in places where as yet no Christians were living, or at least where there had been no conflict with them. In all probability,—and this is corroborated by a certain independent agreement with the Synoptic Gospels—these slanders show that Jewish recollection of the real Christ was still alive, at least as regards three facts:
¶ As far as the crucifixion of Christ is concerned, we have already quoted the relevant passages (287ff. above). The time given, "the eve of Pesach," is an important detail and agrees with the Gospel account.
¶ Even more worthy of belief than independent tradition are the stories of Christ's shameless opposition of the rabbis (cf. p. 178f. above), which can scarcely be based on the New Testament accounts. The New Testament remained totally unknown to Jews of that time; they were not even allowed to touch it. (The evangelium was called avon-gilayon, i.e., the sinful writing; with all the holy names it contained , it was not to be saved from the flames if there were a fire; anyone who read it, according to the words of R. Akiva, had no part in the world to come.) Christians, too, by and large, knew nothing of these circumstances and would have had no reason to speak of them. Among Jews it was traditional to equate Christ with the wicked Mamre, he who rebelled against the rabbis and against the Torah, who "publicly burned his food." Berakhot 17b: "Let us have no son or pupil who burns his food in public like Jesus of Nazareth" (i.e., contradicts the Torah by his heresy and manner of life). The passage in Avodah zavah 16a deserves special attention: it is the most remarkable reference to Jeshua in the talmudic tractates, ascribing to him as it does a certain spiritual significance. It speaks of him as one who taught; things learned from him had come down, through his disciple Jacob of the village of Zechania, to Eliezer b. Hyrcanus, who adopted this tradition. In fact, Rabbi Eliezer b. Hyrcanus was one of the most distinguished Tannaim, the brother-in-law of the Patriarch Gamaliel II.; he was also called Eliezer the Great. And so this Rabbi Eliezer, who lived in the first Christian century, speaks of an opinion of Christ which had come down to him from a disciple of Christ (and some identified this Jacob with Christ's brother). This seems to me to be an important fact, particularly as it touches Christ's historical reality, and I find it astonishing that the critics have thus far paid no attention to it. Moreover, it is more than probable that important, really important sayings of Christ (not under his own name, of course) are contained in Talmud and Midrash. There are plenty of sayings and parables of great clarity, beauty and dignity which could have come from his mouth.
¶ We have already mentioned the third point, Christ's birth out of wedlock, and the fact that, according to the Talmud, he is a bera desanissa, the son of a harlot, and even a mamzer u-ben ha-nida, (the bastard and a son of a menstruating woman, p. 172 and p. 247). For the Jews, his illegitimacy was an accepted fact. it is also confirmed by the Greek Celsus, the friend of Lucian, the celebrated author of a biting attack on Christianity, probably written between 170 and 180. Unfortunately we only have fragments of this text in Origen's refutation of it (for, like all other writings against Christianity, it was destroyed by the Christians). Celsus, too, professes to know that the carpenter to whom Mary had been betrothed had thrown her out after she had been unfaithful to him and become pregnant by Panthera. The Gospel of Nicodemus, which was known to Justin Martyr (born c. 100), takes us back to an even earlier time; it is thought to be the source for the Acta Pilati, in which we read, in the second chapter: "Some of the Jews present said, in a friendly manner: We are not asserting that he was born out of wedlock, for we know that Mary was betrothed to Joseph. He is not illegitimate. Then Pilate spoke to the Jews who had maintained that he was illegitimate: What you say is untrue; there had been a betrothal, as your own countrymen affirm. Thereupon replied Annas and Caiphas to Pilate: The entire nation cries out that he was born out of wedlock, and will you not believe it? Those who deny it are proselytes and disciples of his . . . We, the entire nation, say that he is an illegitimate son and a magician, and that he calls himself a son of God and a king." In Sanhedr. 67a and similarly in Shabbat 104 we read: "Thus they did to the son of Sat-da (i.e. Christ, cf. p. 246) in Lydda and hanged him on the eve of the Pesach. [Someone asked:] Son of Sat-da? [That is a mistake.] He was the son of Pandera. Thereupon Rab Khisda said: the husband was Sat-da, the lover was Pandera. [Someone else suggested:] The husband was Paphos, son of Yehuda, and the mother was called Sat-da. [Yet another said:] His mother was Miriam, who dressed the women's hair. [Someone said:] In fact her real name was Miriam, but they mocked her with the name Sat-da. just as Pumbeditha is called Sat-da (she who has been unfaithful to her husband)." In the Mishna Yevamot 4:13 Shimon ben Azzai even reports that he found a book of genealogies in Jerusalem "in which it was written that a certain man is the bastard of a married woman." ("That man," oto ha-Ish, like peloni, "a certain man," refers to someone whom it is not wished to name here: Christ.) We must never forget that the Gospels also bear witness to Christ's birth out of wedlock, so we cannot dismiss the possibility that, in the Jewish tradition, we have the slanderous version of the event that the Christians interpreted according to their enthusiastic notions: "Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin."
¶ Thus the Mishna and Gemara speak of Christ's illegitimate birth, of his relationship and his opposition to the rabbis and to rabbinic teaching, and of his crucifixion. We must grant them a certain credibility, not dependent on the portrayal found in the Gospels, in so far as the moral criticism which was applied to Christ in his time is still alive in the tradition. Further, less important views could be adduced, such as the affirmation of Shabbat. 104b and Y. Sbabbat 13d (also agreeing with the Evangelists) that Christ should be regarded as mad. And all these details confirm, of course, the reality of Christ's existence.
¶ No less weight (indeed, far more) attaches to the testimonies of Suetonius and Tacitus, which can hardly be dismissed as interpolated falsifications, as the critics would suggest. The passage in Suetonius displays an ignorance of the circumstances which would be impossible where Christians were concerned, and that in Tacitus manifests decided enmity and scorn towards them. The Christians at that time were not in the habit of falsifying things so subtly; their falsifications were crude affairs and always included fulsome praise of their own cause, just as, on the other hand, they simply burned all books hostile to Christianity (Cod. Theodos. I tit. I, 1,3), thus eliminating, no doubt, much that would have been significant and illuminating. Moreover, Christians then would not have been greatly interested in merely providing evidence that Christ really existed; they did not have to prove his existence to the critics—for such sophisticated critics did not exist at the time. These accounts do not have the 'feel' of forgeries, neither of Christian nor of Jewish provenance, for, just as Christians would have falsified things in their own way, so would the Jews have done in theirs. But we do not find so much as a mention of the terms in which Jews always spoke of Christ; it all sounds exactly as the Romans, with their particular interest in the matter, would have discussed it, and no doubt did discuss it. What Jew, what Christian would have been able to speak in such an unmistakably Tacitean style as we find in this passage from the Annals! According to Suetonius, in his life of Claudius (c.25), the latter "banished from Rome"—in the year 51—"the Jews who were constantly making disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus." (The author of this statement seems to think that Christ lived in Rome in the reign of Claudius; the form "Chrestus" for Christus occurs frequently, as does "Chrestiani" for Christiani.) In Annals XV,44 Tacitus writes, in connection with the great fire caused by Nero in the year 64: "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a deadly superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but also in the City, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world meet and become popular."
¶ In Paul, however, we have a witness of an entirely different calibre, whose historicity is beyond all criticism. His historical existence cannot be doubted, and the whole meaning of his life is based on the historical existence of Christ. Or are we really to imagine that Paul would have accepted from the Jews what the critics would like us to fall for about the Jews, namely, that they actually believed this?
¶ This is what our critics believe, and there are many stupid and easily deceived people today who believe them. But did the Jews of that time believe it? No. It is merely an invention of the critics' brains, the ammé haaretz against Jewishness. They can believe that Jews of that time believed it—but in fact the latter would have been totally unable to believe it. It is not difficult to assemble myths of pagan divinities and discover similarities with certain passages in the Gospels, but it requires a good deal more work to arrive at a proper judgment as to what was the case, what was possible at the time, given the prevailing Jewish conditions and conceptions. This requires more learning than the critics and gleaners possess. Not only do they lack what nature alone can teach, but the Talmud is always missing from their libraries. In other words, they lack not only the psychological dimension, the knowledge of the human being, of what is humanly real and possible, and the logical dimension: they also lack the dimensions of language and of objective fact. Since they lack the Talmud, they are deprived of a knowledge of contemporary events and conditions. The latter were utterly different from the fantasies of our critics, these most lofty spirits who not only hurry on ahead of the age, like the great spirits, but actually chase after the past and devour it 2000 years late. They use the magic powers they possess to cause what was never to have been, and to change the form of what has been; thus, quite coolly, they radically change conditions existing two thousand years ago! This is not criticism, lumping things together from various remote regions of the world, and in part from entirely different periods from those that concern us; it is like seeing all the stars in a single plane. In all this, misunderstanding, twisting the facts and specious interpretation play a considerable part, and then to exclaim: "Now do you see? Do you see where these Jews got all this!"—this is what makes criticism into a sin against learning. This is not learning, it is stupidity. It is balanced on the other side by the further stupidity of failing to concern itself with what ought to be its prime concern, namely, the actual conditions and the actual faith of the Jews of the time. Criticism ought to be versed in temporal and local considerations. I will not bore the reader by going into all the things the critics would have us believe about the creeds of the contemporary Jews, according to the critics the latter must have run around in the colours of a whole rainbow of superstitions. On the contrary, I can assure the reader that the Jews of that very time wore nothing but the monochrome garment of their own Jewish superstition. And even if the Jews had been presented with the kind of thing the critics suggest, they would have been simply unable to believe in it. The period of which we are speaking is a period in which all Jews thought in a Jewish way. As for the Babylonian/Persian and Egyptian/Greek influences, we must not say that they were overcome and had melted away; rather we must say that the specifically Jewish conception, that form of which the Jews were capable, had asserted itself over these influences and had achieved complete dominance. We find the concept of tradition and of the inspired Bible fully formed and universally accepted. Paganism had been entirely destroyed by Judaism as it had developed since the days of Ezra, by Pharisaic, rationalist Judaism. The ability to absorb pagan elements was extinct in the Jews of that time; all pagan thoughts were weeded out and their roots destroyed.7 Even those Jews who are influenced by the philosophical speculations of the "heathen" are still Jews, who refuse to let "revelation" be tampered with. For Philo, the prophets are the interpreters of God (Monarch. II, 222), in particular Moses, of course, the god and king of the Jewish nation (Vita Mos. p.105); he regards every individual syllable of the biblical books as inspired by God (De mutat.nom. I, 587); indeed, even the Septuagint, the 72 translators of the Bible into Greek, are held to be inspired (Mos. p. 140). Josephus indicates that it is self-evident to every Jew that he must give his life for the sake of the divine commandments (c.Ap. I,8). Thus even the philosophizing Jews of that time are united with the rabbis in taking their stand on pharisaic Judaism at its most severe and most scrupulous (and I would not speak any differently of the scrupulosity and rigour of any other community's notions). We can be absolutely certain that pagan myths did not succeed in gaining any foothold, even as a partial element or ingredient, in the consciousness of contemporary Jews, whether of those in Judaea or elsewhere in the world. There were at that time Jews whose piety was thoroughly Jewish; for them their erudite knowledge of Judaism played an entirely different role from that played by the erudite knowledge of another faith as cultivated by its adherents. Such erudition was disproportionately more widespread among them compared with adherents of other faiths (and this has remained so among Jews right up to the most recent times, and it is still the case with the Jews of eastern Europe); even untaught pious Jews lived in the closest contact with those who were learned and with the actual rabbis. Moreover, there was the ammé haaretz minority which refused to accept teaching from the learned, which did not follow them and neglected to observe the religious prescriptions; this is what the rabbis complain about, not about paganism among the ammé haaretz, nor yet about the God of the Mandaean cult. At that time all Jews lived within the Jewish world of ideas. This applies to the ammé haaretz too; they knew the commandments, they were quite certainly acquainted with the chief precepts, even if they were not too meticulous in following them. Instruction in the Torah began when the child reached the age of five (Avot, V,24); "If any one of us were asked about the commandments," writes Josephus (c.Ap. 2,18), "he would recite them all more easily than his own name; since we learn them as soon as we reach the age of awareness, it is as if they are engraved on our souls." As Hausrath observes (Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte I, 107), the knowledge of the Bible had "even penetrated the multitude so deeply that Jesus is able to assume, as a matter of course, that the crowd assembled in the Temple knows which was the first and which was the last murder recorded in the Bible (Mt. 23:35)." All Jews at that time lived within the Jewish conceptual world; there was nothing pagan in the background at all. In particular, with regard to the Jewish world to which the Gospels introduce us, i.e., with regard to Christ and his chroniclers, there was not the slightest suspicion of any involvement with Greek ideas. Everyone will find this demonstrated in the Gospels, apart from the critics; they want to prove the very opposite to be true of the Gospels, and do not even see what is in front of them. All my life I have spent far more time studying Greek thought than Judaism; again and again I am bound to insist on the specifically Jewish character of Christ, in whom nothing of Greek influence can be discerned. Harnack says the same (Das Wesen des Christentums, Leipzig 1902, p.22): "That is almost a matter for surprise . . . There were Greek teachers and philosophers (?) there, and it is scarcely conceivable that Jesus should have been entirely unacquainted with their language. But that he was in any way influenced by them, that he was ever in touch with the thoughts of Plato or the Stoa, even though it may have been only in some popular redaction, it is absolutely impossible to maintain."
¶ And concerning Paul, Wilamowitz-Moellendorf writes (Kultur der Gegenwart, I,159): "Hellenism, no doubt, is one of his basic assumptions; he is only familiar with the Greek Bible [Aha!], and thus he thinks in a Greek manner. He certainly executes Alexander's testament, unwittingly, by bringing the Gospel to the Hellenes, but he is all of a piece, he is a Jew, just as Jesus is a Jew." (Greek influence—and this means, first and foremost, the influence of Jewish Alexandrianism—is clearly discernible in the Epistle to the Hebrews, which used to be ascribed to Paul. His authorship, however, should quite certainly be rejected. It was probably written towards the end of the first century; even its language sets it apart from the rest of the New Testament, since it is composed in an educated Greek which reveals the influence of the language of Philo.)
¶ Thus, beware of the scribes, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees! The person who is neither critical nor a connoisseur is here put on his guard against the critics and non-connoisseurs, lest he too become critical. He can stick to the old religion, which will not swallow such hard tack unless it is well greased. He is warned against the critics and scribes, the scholastics whose disputations rob us of the genius of Christ, who try to replace him with their greasy and empty fatuities. They preen and congratulate themselves as they propagate the most pernicious nonsense, which is then trumpeted throughout the world by them and by their lackeys, the journalists: trompettes, trompés—we shall soon see that there is no lack of trompeurs.
¶ Now, after these necessary observations concerning the Jewish people at large, let us come to Paul in particular, to this Jew, this "Hebrew of the Hebrews," who wants to know nothing at all of Gentile speculation (the wisdom of this world is folly to God, 1 Cor. 3:19; Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy, Coloss. 2:8). Is this Paul, this Pharisee, utterly rooted in rabbinic tradition, the disciple of Gamaliel, the rabbi, the baal pilpul, the sublime master of dialectic and disputation—is he likely to have listened to the babble of low-class Jews concerning some ancient Mandaean God? Is he likely to have suddenly become receptive to the ancient God of the Mandaean cult, on account of which he had been "breathing out threatenings and slaughter" against these same Jews (Acts 9:1)? Let us say this much in passing: the God of the Mandaean cult is, without doubt, the "unknown God" to whom Paul refers. To this very day this God has not made himself known to anyone. We know absolutely nothing about the Mandaeans of those times. What shadowy knowledge we have about Mandaeans, the Mandaye (called thus after their aeon Manda de Khaye, identical with the Babylonian god of Light, Marduk) comes from a much later time and has a gnostic ring about it; although heavily dependent on Jewish and Christian traditions, it rages violently against both; it does not make Christ out to be the ancient Mandaean God, as the critics do, but makes him into a devil, set among the planets in the form of Mercury, with the Holy Spirit (Rukha de Kudsha) as his mother. The whole issue of the Mandaean cultic god and its influence on the Jews at the time of Christ is a notion spawned from the critics' own bowels. Even assuming that they are right, and that there was belief in such a God at that time in the area of the Euphrates and Tigris, that in reality there was no such person as Christ, and that Jews of the lowest class shared a belief in this Mandaean God and called him Christ or Jesus (no cultic God was ever called by such a name): are we to suppose that Paul was unaware of this? We have already become acquainted with the cunning of these Mandaeans in the Gospels (not even allowing their Mandaean God the briefest word before his death); but if they were really able to conceal their Mandaeanism so completely, why were they persecuted,—by Paul, for instance? Is Paul supposed to have failed to notice that he was persecuting the Jewish Mandaeans, breathing out threatenings and slaughter against them? And later on, again, did he not notice that he had become a Mandaean himself? Saul, the persecutor of the Mandaeans, and Paul, the "chosen vessel" (Acts 9:15) of the Mandaean God, is supposed to have known and noticed nothing of all this Mandaeanism?! Paul, whose conversion took place in 37 or 38 A.D., is supposed not to have noticed what Arthur Drews has observed after nearly two thousand years—or else Paul noticed it (for he entered into deliberations with the Apostles) and kept it quiet! Where on earth then did he bear witness to the Mandaean cultic God, the ancient cultic God? No Evangelist and no Apostle speaks of an ancient God. They would have had a much easier time of it, at least among the Gentiles, if they had been able to speak of an ancient God. But they speak of the new Christ, of the completely new actuality of his life: that is what animates them.
¶ This very Paul who, like no one else, flung down the pagan gods from their altars, is supposed to show signs of a heathen God! Paul is supposed to smack of polytheism and syncretism! It is quite true that Christ's divinity is Christianity's egg, laid by Paul, though this is no reason to overestimate the importance of Paul over against Christ. Paul was nothing without Christ, but this Christ was Christ quite apart from Paul, and Paul's Christ is almost nothing in comparison with the Christ of the Gospels. Without the latter, Paul's Christ would have attained no significance in the world. There would have been no Christianity without Christ, neither through the efforts of Paul nor through those of Augustine, that magnificent brother of Paul's, so intimately related to him by nature. It is beyond question that the idea of Christ's divinity comes from Paul, was derived from Paul; this is how Church orthodoxy understood Paul. But, for the more orthodox Paul, the right thinking Paul who understood himself, this divinity of Christ is the mystical divinity of the man Christ, "born of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Rom. 1:3, εκ σπερματοζ Δαυιδ), whom he greets as the restorer of mankind, in opposition to Adam and sinful humanity in the image of Adam. It is of this man Christ that I Cor. 3:23 speaks: "Ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." 8 The crude interpolation of Rom. 9:5, "Christ, who is over all, God blessed for ever" is totally out of place in the mouth of Paul (cf. also p. 66 above), and the overlay of superstition we find in the mysticism of Paul and also of the Gospel of John has nothing at all in common with the God of the Mandaean cult. Paul was a Jew, and after his conversion to Christ he was really and truly a Jew. In order to be such, he had to turn against Pharisaic Judaism; he had to abjure his own Pharisaic past and atone for it. He knew now that the real, authentic Judaism was not the Pharisaic, impersonal Judaism, bound to tradition, but the mystical and prophetic Judaism which took its stand on the profound self of the individual person. It was because he felt that the heart and the life of this Judaism, of this Spirit of Truth, had become completely manifest in Christ's towering and all-holy Self, and that "now apart from the law (i.e., the Torah as taught by the Pharisees) God's righteousness has been revealed, to which the law (the genuine Torah) and the prophets bear witness" (Rom. 3:21), that he now opposed the man Christ to the entire Pharisaic tradition, just as Christ himself had opposed it in his own person. Christ had thus become the prophet of prophets; he no longer said "Thus says the Lord!" but "I say unto you!" So Paul put forward this Christ against the whole of pharisaic Judaism, as the real fulfillment of Judaism against a Judaism gone astray, as blessing against damnation. Henceforth he knew no other love but love for this true Judaism through his love for Christ. For him, Christ was "in the place of God." Thus—and here we are faced with the immensity of his overflowing enthusiasm and his unprecedented revolutionary daring, at the very heart of the problem—he applied the name "Lord," which the Jews used instead of the word Jahve, to Christ (1 Cor. 8:6; and the Pauline Gospel of Luke follows him in this); thus he calls himself "a prisoner in Christ" (Eph. 4:1) and was obliged to say: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." As far as the other Jews were concerned, this made him no longer a Jew, since he was no longer a pharisaic Jew; as far as he himself was concerned, however, in the depths of his conscience, it made him a proper Jew for the first time. This also provides an answer to the important question of how Paul, Paul in particular, the rabbi most richly endowed with understanding and sensitivity, could have come to fall away from Pharisaism. It was precisely this endowment, this conscience of his, the prophetic element in his nature, which drove him out of Pharisaism. The man who was able to write 1 Cor. 13 was a prophet; Paul also has visions like a prophet and is transported (2 Cor. 12:2,4; 13:3); it is no longer God who appears to him, however, but Christ, and the Spirit cries Abba, Father (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6)!
¶ None of the other rabbis has written anything approaching 1 Cor. 13; they could be nothing else, they had to be and to remain Pharisees. But Paul, awakened by Christ, cut the cord which bound him to pharisaic Judaism in favour of authentic, prophetic Judaism: "Christ is the end of the law," Christ is the fulfillment of prophecy. Now it is possible for Judaism to fulfill its messianic role among the nations, now the true Israel will consist of all the true Israelites in the whole world! In Rom. 9-11 we have the rationale of Paul's being and remaining a Jew and his argument against pharisaic Judaism.
¶ Paul and John (and by the latter, of course, we always mean the writer of the Gospel of John) were, in their inner being, in the closest proximity to Christ. They were the first real followers of Christ, yet perhaps, at the same time, they themselves were already imitators of Christ, and to that extent still pharisaic. At any rate, subsequent imitation of Christ, Christianity, orthodox Christianity, took from the Gospel of John and the Pauline epistles those elements which we would most wish to see removed, namely, a great deal of Pharisaism and religious idiocy instead of mystical depth. As a result of this (among other things), Christianity became far more pharisaic and superstitious than Judaism had ever been. The nonsense the rabbis spawned in their fools' paradise, their pardese9 , was bad enough, with their דום שרד זמר טשפ, literal, metaphoric, homiletic and hidden sense of the biblical texts; rabbinism desperately reified the Spirit and took everything literally, and actually treated all this tomfoolery seriously, with its Sabbath commandments and food regulations. What a farce, when urged to carry around the sacred word and have it before one's eyes at all times, to inscribe lumps of wood and bind them to one's hands and to one's forehead! What a crass materialization of the Spirit! But Christianity has become far more pharisaic and superstitious: man is pharisaic and superstitious by nature, and Judaism was augmented by pagan mythology and its speculation, which imported quite a different meaning into the Jewish words and caused the most un-Jewish ideas to be attributed to Jews. The apostles had no notion of the "Apostles' Creed"!—no more than they enjoyed the use of their bones which were later exhibited as their relics. And what about all the falsifications introduced into the Bible! Originally it contained nothing about the Holy Trinity: Luther himself regarded 1 Jn. 5:7 as a patent interpolation and omitted it from his translation, but now it is back again as large as life in the Luther Bibles! People also stitched speculative material, as well as they could, into the Gospel of John, which was particularly suitable for such treatment. I am quite certain that the whole Logos preface was tacked on, for whether or not this Logos is still meant in a Jewish sense, whether or not it is close to the Logos of Philo, to the "image of God" (Q.r.d.h. I,505), to the "God-man" (De conf.ling. I,411), and is infinitely removed from later dogmatic speculation, it still does not in any way fit in with the Gospel of John, and naturally enough the latter makes no use of it. The Logos preface is by no means "the programme for the Gospel of John," for the Gospel's Christ still acts and is affected humanly enough, and weeps. Certainly he is a theologized Christ, but in this Gospel he is not a Logos-Christ. Neither John nor Paul are speculative mystics, but mystics they are, they come close to speculation, and they tore down the barriers with the result that the rankest pagan speculation could burst in. It would have been better for Christianity if it had stayed close to Jewish Christianity, i.e., to true Christianity or true Judaism, rather than getting so near to paganism. It would have been better if Christianity had not relied on the Holy Spirit, who is supposed to have revealed to later generations things that were hidden from earlier ones, like the Immaculate Conception, for instance. Let us hope that the Holy Spirit has at last finished revealing things and has nothing left in the larder; let us hope that we shall not be surprised, one fine day, by some as yet unknown traditio mere oralis!e10 Even at its most rabbinic, Judaism never exhibited such abuse, such prodigal idiocy, as we find in the Church with its miracles and relics of the saints, its deliverance from purgatory and the way it treats heavenly grace like a commodity. And that Eulenspiegel like tomfoolery should be elevated into dogmas! The Jews never made a trade out of religion9 and they never made dogmas. How infinitely less absurd Christianity would have been if it had only listened to the judaizing Anti-trinitarianism (which was suppressed from the 4th century on, since the Council of Nicaea); how much more it could have had of Christ! For all the work of purifying Christianity is nothing other than a de-hallowing of the Holy Spirit, a throwing out of what this pernicious pagan has brought in, a smoothing out of the Trinity, of those three dreadful creases which had been introduced into the unity of Jahve by paganism. It is a return to better things in Gnosticism, Arianism, Unitarianism, a return to the unity of Jahve, to prophetic Judaism, which—alas!—was scarcely restored when it was immediately distorted again, distorted not only into a belief in God, but into blasphemy. There is really no such thing as a "concept" of God. But blasphemy should at least not be allowed to stand as an illusion in the place of the concept, and what are the dogmas of the Trinity, of Original Sin and of Predestination, but blasphemy, since they make the divinity both absurd and wicked?! Everything that was better and worse than prophetic Judaism mingled together in Christianity. Where it is pure, the latter can be described as prophetic Judaism in its highest form, expressed in Jesus Christ; in terms of its impure historical manifestation, it is a prophetism corrupted as soon as it came to birth, the pagan twin of Pharisaism. Judaism's protest against essential paganism is equally maintained against Christianity. Christianity must cut itself loose from paganism, and paganism must be converted to Judaism. If Christianity is to become what it wants to be, it must renounce the desire to know anything that pure Judaism in Christ neither knows nor wishes to know: it must renounce symbols, dogmas, articles of faith, liturgy, worship; it must want to know nothing of creation, the Fall, redemption and justification, heaven and hell, the incarnation of God, the Three Persons of the Godhead, the single Personality of God; it must not hold on to a single item of religion's superstition. If Christianity is to come about, Christ must be the Master, revealing to the heathen that they are but men (Ps. 9:21). With regard to Paul himself, we cannot know whether and how far the pure well-spring of mysticism was polluted by the murky stream of superstition. Because the Paul who has come down to us in the epistles is no more the real Paul than the Christ of the gospels is the real Christ. What made the real Christ the greatest of the prophets was the fact that he proclaimed himself, his human Self, and thus proclaimed Man. However far Paul may or may not have been able to follow him, and whether or not he engages in theomorphism, he did in any case theomorphose the man Christ—who is descended from David—for God is surely not descended from David! Paul knew of the man Christ as only one man can know about another, and after all Paul was acquainted with Christ's brothers and his personal disciples—what more do we want? So it is incontestable that the genuinely Pauline epistles give the historically classical and oldest written witness to the human reality of Christ, a witness very close in time to the life of Christ. Though people have attempted to discover a later source for many of the letters attributed to Paul, the authenticity of the letters which are crucial in our case can only be impugned by a hypercriticism which is obsessed and deluded. Only such bloodthirsty persecutors of the first Christians as Arthur Drews and Samuel Lublinski can seek to take away the life of Paul in his historical reality: Samuel and Arthur, why do ye persecute me?!
¶ There could have been no Paul, also called Saul, apart from the historical Christ. Paul was motivated by the cause which his conscience and will had embraced; he was so totally a man, all iron will, all passion, action, self sacrificing, and all for the sake of his conscience. The whole Paul in whom nothing lives but Christ, and who had suffered so much "in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by countrymen, in perils by heathen," can be regarded as an irrefutable historical witness for the historical Christ. The entire New Testament is a historical testimony to the historical Christ. This is what constitutes its greatest uniqueness and novelty; it is what really makes it the New Testament. This is what distinguishes the books of the New Testament from all the rest of Jewish literature (far more, of course, than from the Old Testament and the talmudic literature); this is what causes them to surpass all other Jewish literature by nothing less than the measure of Christ's genius. The Old Testament is great because of its humanity, and the prophetic element which lives within it; Talmudic literature has much that is humanly beautiful and its moral purity fills us with admiration, but where is the enrapturing power of love and will of a Christ, a Paul, a John, an Apocalypse? It lacks prophecy, and it becomes petty and even more petty as a result of Pharisaic-rabbinic traditionalism. The mechanical and soulless principle of a revealed tradition is opposed by the living "I-Self" of Christ's prophetic mission. Christ lives in the New Testament. The New Testament is ammé haaretz literature, the non-pharisaic literature of the Jews, without tradition and rabbis (which is why the Jews, since they had become completely pharisaic, traditionalists, felt the New Testament to be un-Jewish). There is to be no rabbi but Christ alone, unum enim habetis doctorem,e11 and this rabbi, Christ, is the prophet of prophets, and "more than a prophet"; in him God no longer reveals the truth through a prophet, with much ceremony: now, straight away, everything is there: "I am the Truth." And if the Truth is thought to be from God: "He who sees me, sees God, sees the Father!" For the Father is not something external, he is Spirit, internal in me; I and the Father are one! In all the writings of the New Testament everything is stamped with the mark of Christ; no longer is it founded on God and tradition, on the Spirit working through the tradition: here the Spirit is poured out directly on all who stand in a relationship with Christ; the "primitive" community of Christ's followers is a community of prophetic Judaism. In the New Testament, the person and the life of Christ is everything (I have already said that genius has taken the place of the divinity); everything is held together in unity by the man Christ, whose reality is established all the more firmly through the manifold views of him. The Jacobite, Petrine, Synoptic, Pauline, Johannine approaches, different as they are from one another, all guarantee and cause us to discern the One Christ. So that is enough of historical proofs!—which we do not need, though we must not forget that we have them. We have all possible proofs; there is no kind of proof lacking. We also have the apagogical proof.e12 In this appendix I have laid particular weight on the compelling apagogical proof, the indirect deductio ad absurdum,e13 by showing the utter absurdity—provided one is consistent—of accepting the critics' premises. Not only does the reality of Christ not need any further proof; it is not susceptible of further proof. There can be no further proofs of things that are certain and evident. Anyone who intelligently and seriously appreciates what is involved in the demand for proofs in a case like this, which is not one of mathematics and physics, will realize this. What phenomenon of a far distant past is better attested, even from a historical and philological point of view? As far as fides historicae14 is concerned, which is more important? To establish the externally objective height of Christ's person in centimetres and his weight in kilos, or to appreciate the spiritual significance of his life? Even if we had birth certificates, domicile certificates and doctors' death certificates, would all these accreditations and official documents come anywhere near the significance—a hundred thousand times greater—of what I have called the ontological proof from the Gospels? For the Gospels show us the inwardness of the man, Christ, in such breadth and depth, in such self-evidence and beyond all question, that as a result we are given the man Christ in his external reality too. This proof from the Gospels is by no means purely ontological either: the ontological and historical proofs are intermingled (because the ontological aspect of Christ, his great "I-self," is one with his life and teaching). Historically, too, Christ is self-evident; he is present to us in the most compelling historical self-testimony. In the Gospels Christ attests himself; his word is proved by his life, and his life, in all its moments, is proved by his word—for there is no smoke without fire! Christ was a fire, a prophet. His sublime speech and his personality's exalted attitude, his attitude of destiny, reciprocally elicit, illuminate and prove one another.
¶ Thus we do not build our Christ on a legend, on enthusiasm and a belief in miracles; to the indirect evidence of his external existence and the inconceivability of his non-existence, we have added the most direct and self-authenticating proof and demonstration of his paramount inwardness. We have Christ himself, and thus, for the most part, we can do without all the Gospel criticism, which is only concerned with externals and in the end comes to no firm conclusions anyway. We shall possess this entire gospel criticism too, along with firm conclusions, if only we possess Christ in an inward manner. Then there will be no complaining about the inadequacies of transmission, that we have not got his score and only know the tune the Evangelists are playing for us. For it is a fact that they play amiss and confusedly, and if we heard everything from his mouth it would sound very different. We can see this from Spinoza—even temporally, the really great, purely spiritual men are very far apart. From Christ until Spinoza we have no genius in the full sense of the word. It was clear in the case of Spinoza, who wrote down everything himself and thus is the only man in the world whose doctrine was not defaced by the least admixture of superstition; yet we know what kind of men his followers were: none of them had realized Spinoza's historical significance, and they only took from him what seemed useful to them for their current philosophizing. They all passed over the actual foundation of his teaching with benevolent silence, and we can imagine how distorted his teaching would have appeared if it had only come down to us via his disciples. As it is, in spite of his own presentation, the world is full of caricatures of his ideas. All that we know of Christ's teaching comes down to us in a few occasional writings on the part of people who were superstitious and inadequate to the task; his purely spiritual mysticism was completely dragged down into delusion. Nevertheless there have always been free spirits at all times who were not hindered by this; they were able to go back and discover the blossoming of mysticism and Truth. These true mystics help us to reach Christ. They help us even by their very natures: recognizing what is unique about those whose natures are mystical, and what mysticism is—godlessness, freedom from the world, blessedness—we find that Christ, the most sublime of mystical natures, is brought near to us. In this way we know most precisely what is Christ's ex ore suo, from his own mouth, and what are additions and distortions on the part of the Evangelists; we cannot fail to make the distinction. All the great words of glory and holiness can only proceed from the One mouth, which cannot possibly pour forth stupidity, foolishness and superstition. Anything that does not accord with the total picture of Christ's greatness of character, anything that would interfere with the consistency of his pure motive principles, must be dismissed. As true as he is Christ, such things cannot be attributed to him. Christ's meaning is always the highest and purest meaning; he is the man who proclaims the eternally valid truth of the One, purified of all superstition and of all time-bound ideas.
¶ The most convincing and final way to refute the notion that the Evangelists were writing a "novel" is to embrace this world phenomenon as vividly as possible in all its "genial" inwardness. In the account which they have handed down to us, the Evangelists have also given us a naively faithful mirror-image of their own limitations; thus it is impossible to assume that the portrayal of genius which they have handed on is also a reflection of these men, these chroniclers. What comes to mind, rather, are the words: "He that heareth you heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me." We listen as if Christ were talking to us face to face. What we hear from them is what they had heard from him: "What ye have spoken in the darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear shall be proclaimed upon the housetops" (Lk. 12:3). All the words, sayings and parables which have come down to us have One great meaning; they all, in deepest accord, point to One mighty man of will. According to our fundamental idea of the mystical Genius, every word embodies the entirety of this mighty man: we believe in Jesus Christ, godless, free from the world, blessed. At this point all the Gospels are unanimous; they are worthy of belief; in themselves, through their authentic couleur locale, they are the most trustworthy historical document.10 So far as the essential mystical characterization is concerned, the Gospels speak with four voices and yet in unison, but the Synoptics have pride of place. For it is precisely in the non-learned, uneducated Synoptics that the mystical self-awareness and the mystical foundation of Christ's entire life stands out. Here it is far more credible, fresh and magnificent than in John, who manifests his rabbinic and halakhic training and at the same time engages in Philonic and Gnostic religious philosophizing. We always find John trying to put the God in the place of the man, and furthermore he has a tendency to be vain. The sequence of Gospels in our Tetraevangelion11 is highly appropriate: first we have the greatest, by far the most significant, most integrated, and artistically most powerful Gospel of Matthew, which movingly presents to us Christ's character and his tragic destiny, the dramatic conflict between Spirit and superstition which once overtook the greatest of men and has been going on ever since; here the world's violation of the Spirit is written in blood. Mark occupies the lowest place, situated between Matthew and Luke. With Luke the tone rises again, his Gospel exhibits beautiful details; and the more abstract John brings up the rear. Matthew is the most beautiful, Luke rounds out the picture charmingly; Mark is the most stupid, and John the cleverest and deepest, but he is furthest removed, not only from Christ's lifetime, but also from his human greatness. Because of his own mystical nature, he is nearer to Christ's mystical thought, but for that very reason, and since he had a certain amount of erudition, he dehumanizes Christ with his abstract perspective and starts the process of λογια κυριακα; his Gospel becomes the dogmatic gospel of the ghostly, divinized Christ. The Synoptics, ammé haaretz that they were, were nothing less than mystical and profound by nature, knew nothing of concepts, let alone the perspectives of reflection and erudition. All they knew was that in Christ they had a man whose every word was alive in them; they possessed their lives in him, he was their entire possession, honour and love in the world; they loved him more than father, mother, wife and child, more than their own selves. With his power to capture hearts he had penetrated them, so that they were obliged to worship him in life, and almost deified him after his death. They counted themselves blessed that, for his sake, people despised them, persecuted them and uttered all manner of evil against them. So much did they love him; and we have seen that love, his loving and his being loved, is the genius's secret. They completely forgot how they had been while he was alive, loving him more than themselves, but also loving themselves more than him, worshipping and yet betraying him, putting themselves at the service of his work and yet committing treason against it . In so far as they loved him more than themselves, they were of service to his work; but in so far as they loved themselves more than him, they betrayed it. Now, however, they were at the service of his work, for now they did love him more than themselves and no longer gave a thought to themselves. They thought of nothing but the unfathomable man, Christ, whom they could no longer see or touch, who no longer spoke to them, no longer looked at them. And yet, there he was, always looking at them and speaking to them; he was everything to them, body and soul, and, for them, 'Gospel' meant nothing other than speaking of the man Christ, who had been both life and speech for these inarticulate people: "We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard." So, in many different ways, they set forth his life, suffering and death, as well as all his words, to make the picture complete. And the result was something quite different from a conceptual understanding of his teaching: it gave the world this unique picture, grasped in love and fervent devotion, of Christ's life, suffering and death, which is just as significant as Christ's mystical teaching. It is the life, the suffering and the dying of the mystic, of the prophet, of the fire which has taken hold of them directly. Now they were his existence and his word; he had made them into his book. What burned in them was his fire, in which he had forged them to be his sword. This life, suffering and dying is that of the mystic who says of himself: "I and the Father are one" and "I have overcome the world." This life, suffering and death is the consequence of the fundamental mystical idea and can only be understood on the basis of it, just as all his utterances presuppose a mystical well-spring. A life such as the Synoptics portray could not be lived without the ideas which John gives us (so, as far as internal reasons are concerned, there is nothing against the assumption on the part of some people that John's Gospel is the earliest, written down as a result of direct experience of Christ—albeit not by one of the Apostles—and only later provided with a prologue and interpolations). That is the very reason why it comes to us in a twofold form—thought and life—and why this life is as significant as these thoughts; that is why Matthew is rightly regarded as the chief Gospel, and why John is also held to be a Gospel. For this life is the unfolding and corroboration of these thoughts; it is the life of these thoughts, their symbolic externalization, in such perfect correspondence to them that it is inseparable from them. This life is these ideas and words, to the last drop of blood: "This is my blood"! That is also why this life carries on its symbiosis with the world, not simply because of its personal significance but because it hovers between personality and impersonality, as the heroic achievement of these ideas, externalized in the life of a man. That is why the pulsating blood and the love of this tremendous life continue to excite and disturb the world, even if the world has become so accustomed to the ideas that it no longer understands anything by them, even if, in its imitation of them, the world distorts them and regards its distortion as the ideas themselves, even if the world cries out a thousand times that these ideas are no longer valid, that they are a matter of indifference to us. Therefore, to everyone who is able to receive what the Gospels have to offer—which is the greatest gift anyone can receive—the main thing is the life of Christ, the man Christ. Moreover without the visibility and the vividness of the whole humanity of Christ, we can have no grasp of his authentic Gospel in its entirety; without it, we can use the Evangelists to prove anything we like—even that Christ only preached to the sick and to self-mutilators who tear out their eyes or hack off their hands, or that the Jews were all left-handed; for Christ says, "Whoso shall smite thee on thy right cheek," etc.—whereas we usually box a person's ears with the right hand, striking their left cheek! The main thing is the life of Christ, the man Christ, this most transparent human character, as I have said. First of all we see it stereoscopically as a single whole through the diverse portrayals of the Evangelists; then, detaching itself from the material bedrock and support of the visual images, it lives independently before us, with us, in us. It is only through our living with this life that the ideas which blossom forth from it have meaning; only thus does the Gospel have meaning; only thus do we understand that it is not that the Evangelists write about Christ and his Gospel, but that Christ is the Gospel!
¶ Furthermore, it is inconceivable that these thoughts originated with the author of the Gospel of John. Are there not enough utterances of spiritual revelation in the Synoptics, which could only have come from the mouth of the great mystic, who is godless, free from the world and blessed? Do we not have the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew and Luke? Does not the Mount itself, whence this voice resounds in our ears, signify mysticism? Do we not find in Matthew (11:27) the primal mystical word: "All things are delivered to me of my Father"? Have not Matthew, Mark and Luke the most stupendous mystical reality in the world: the Last Supper? What we must call purior typus doctrinae christianae and purus typus doctrinae Christie15 is to be found in all four Evangelists, in the Synoptics as in John (cf. the texts assembled on p. 53ff. above). For the most part they are all Synoptics, and all four of them present the same synoptic reality. Whether one has more or less passages than another is neither here nor there, it is simply due to the particular agents of transmission, the scribes, the redactors. But this mystical, synoptic reality must be there, without any gradation in its essence, as the centre of the personality, the centre of the whole range of ideas. And this is the case, both with the Synoptics and in John. It is there in Mark too, which Protestant criticism, according to the current fashion, regards as the earliest, as well as in Matthew, which Catholics with their criticism make to be the earliest; it is also there in Luke—no doubt its turn will come to be held to be the earliest. Criticism's fashions change so rapidly as to make one feel giddy. The whole mythological fashion is not yet old: a while ago, before criticism had declared the Evangelists to be inventors of myths, the latter were regarded as scoundrels and charlatans who had dreamt up the whole pack of lies; (even the Jesuit Pighius writes in his Hierarchia eccles. I, 2: Matthaeus et Johannes evangelistae potuerunt et labi memoria et MENTIRI)e16 critics at that time, though with different obsessions, were just as subtle psychologists as those today. They were not inhibited by the fact that this pack of lies and deceit was truly magnificent, more magnificent than all the truth in the world. And it won't be long before everything will be regarded as historically credible once more. They will be publishing the conversations between Adam and Eve next! The fashions of criticism change swiftly, and criticism's flippancy has grown apace; moreover, the frivolity of fashion is supplemented by the malevolent secondary motives of arrogance which arise out of a nature which is eternally human; indeed, for many, such motives are primary.
¶ The frivolity manifested in the detection of similarities!
¶ Countless similarities can be found with myths and stories of gods, and Samuel and Arthur, who have no higher point of reference for Christ than Hierocles and Philostratos with their miracle-working Apollonius, who do nothing but stare vacantly at the thaumaturgical and soteriological Christ, entirely failing to notice Christ the Genius, can prove anything with their similarities and with the help of their perhaps, probably and no doubt we should assume. Thus they speak about a Christ-myth in the same terms as the myths of Heracles, Theseus, Perseus, Siegfried or William Tell. I too in no way believe in a historical Tell, Siegfried, Heracles, Theseus, nor do I believe that the Dhyani-Buddhas were born without parents (Anupadaka) nor that Melchizedek was so born (απατωρ and αμητωρ and thus on a higher plane than Christ)—good heavens, I do not even believe in the a-parental generation of infusoria either! And I do not believe that anyone was ever born of a virgin sine semine virili,e17 nor that Perseus was born of the Virgin Danae, nor that Romulus was born of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Sylvia, nor that Sargon was born of a virgin, nor that Simon Magus was born of the virgin Rachel, nor yet that the God Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, nor that the Virgin Mary was born of the Virgin Anna, God's grandmother. In spite of the admonitory miracle performed on the unbelieving Dominican, which I have already related, I do not believe. But all the same there are things which I do and must believe. For if we were acquainted with significantly unique and inspired deeds under the names, for instance, of Sargon, Romulus, Perseus, Theseus, Heracles, Siegfried and Tell, then I would have to believe, if I were not to betray my fundamental notion of resultant phenomena having a cause (for every cause must produce its specific result, and every result must have its specific cause). This would follow even if I had never so little to show of the causes involved, of the originators of such works; for, in cases like this, the minus in terms of the kind of experiential certainty which is supplied by sense-data and other external information is outweighed by the plus of inner conviction. Thus I would have to believe that these deeds had creative personalities behind them, and so I would call them Tell, Siegfried, Heracles, Theseus, Perseus, Romulus and Sargon, just as I call Shakespeare the author of the unmistakably distinctive literary marvels, pointing to a single originator, that go under his name, in spite of the fact that we have as little certain knowledge of the life of the man Shakespeare as of the life of the man Christ—nay, we have less.
¶ Thus is manifested the utter frivolity and total irrelevance of such men as our Samuel and Arthur, these trivial pedants, incompetent in the face of something great: all they notice are inconsequential similarities, with their Sargon, Romulus, Perseus, etc., which are of no concern to us; they fail to see the difference, the essential matter which is so crucial to us. They are poor critics who cannot even speak their words with the right emphasis. The Hamburg monomaniac, Albrecht, was really a far more accomplished critic, devoting his life's work to proving that Lessing was nothing but a plagiarist; in his sickness, this Albrecht traced back all the phrases which occur in Lessing to the contemporary or earlier literature of England and France. For all the same—to those lacking in understanding—this proof did more to impugn Lessing's creative originality than if the said critic had proved that Lessing had never fed five thousand men, along with women and children, in a desert, with five loaves and two fishes, that Lessing had never made lame men to walk, blind men to see, nor restored madmen—and the whole of the rest of mankind—to their right mind. But since there are myths in which all these things are attributed to gods, consequently Lessing's existence must also be a fabrication. What kind of criticism is that, which, because Christ was not a god, denies existence to the man Christ simply on account of the miracles attributed to him by his biographers? In that case, why should we not refuse to accept the existence of Benedict of Nursia, whom we only know of from the dialogues of Gregory the Great, larded as they are with miraculous tales? Why should we not entirely reject the existence of the saints? (But it is not enough to reject them: we would have to go on to say that the saints represent something in Catholicism which we cannot allow ourselves to forget; we have thus every reason to concern ourselves most closely with them.)
¶ Is there really no other source of information, then, with regard to Christ? Has it not always happened that the name of a man of significance and influence has become associated, now and again, with legend and myth? And is there no achievement here which points to a person, so that we have to say that, in this case, the myth takes precedence over the person? If there were ever a case in which it were necessary to say that the person takes precedence over the myth, this is it—on account of the spiritual value, and achievement of the person concerned. For while it is true that a person and a story can be invented subsequently on the basis of an existing myth, such an invented person cannot create something as a real person can. It is impossible to invent a person of Christ's spiritual quality and influence, for which both the myth and its history expresses the full truth, and where the myth is so perfectly suited to the person! Where such a combination of circumstances is observable, criticism must find other ground to stand on; it cannot keep up its one-sided thesis of a person subordinate to the myth, nor even its two-sided consideration of a myth dependent on the appearance of the person or subordinate to the person. A knowledge of these two sides is insufficient: what is needful is a higher cognition of the centre, of the myth itself. What is needful is the insight by which we let ourselves be guided in the present work: namely, that the delusion of the myth and of superstition as a whole is the analogon, the reification of Spirit; that the nonsense put forward by superstition, in its chief maxims, always corresponds, in the spiritual person, to a truth and to a true relationship. What is utter nonsense, conceived in superstitious terms, such as the Son of the Father and the Virgin, equal to the Father, and the miracles, is in fact the profoundest Truth if understood spiritually; the utterances of superstition regain their Truth when applied to Christ. Thus, what superstition says does not sound like superstition at all when applied to Christ, unless it is put altogether too coarsely. Anyone who knows the difference between the miracles of poetic utterance and the miracles of a deranged mind will be prepared to accept certain external miraculous deeds on the part of Christ—as purely poetic symbolism of the inner reality of his ability to work spiritual wonders, which was far greater and more powerful still. Similarly we have the charming Annunciation to the Virgin, who, though a virgin, was to become his mother. The supernatural birth from the Virgin is the most profound poetic-symbolic truth about the sublime Genius, who placed himself and his life so innocently and naively in the midst of the life of this humanity with its religion, its metaphysics, its moralism. After God had created man, Satan pricked man with his fork and pierced him with these three holes of religion, metaphysics and moralism, and that is why, now, God has continually to bring forth the undamaged man, the Genius, by way of exception. The Virgin Mother and much else is poetry—but we cannot do without it; there are things which can only be expressed poetically and which can only be assimilated into the consciousness through poetry. So, too, Christ as the Son of the Father, equal to the Father, carrying out revelation through the Holy Spirit—as applied to Christ, this is no superstitious myth; it is truth, expressed with all the depth of its psychological motif in accordance with the historical and supra-temporal facts; it bespeaks Christ's relationship to the Spirit and to the Spiritual Elite in the only way possible, and as Christ himself utters it. And since it cannot be spoken of except in these terms, and since superstition is the same, in a distorted, externalized and reified form, as what the Spirit is interiorly, superstition also uses the same words to express its analogical content. And since Christ applied this to himself, superstition now speaks of Christ in these terms, but understood in its own, superstitious sense, confusing Christ with the God of superstition. So it was inevitable that superstition would form an amalgam of all its highest elements and pour it out, from the vessel of myth, over the one person of such sublimity of spirit, of such seminal power, who, as of royal right, possesses what these mythological aspects signify in their original, interior truth. The critics, however, know nothing of all this; they do not notice anything of the spiritual significance and influence of the person of Christ, they are incapable of seeing any difference between the Twelve Labours of Heracles and Christ's achievement in the world. It seems to me that they still confuse him with God and imagine that Christ allowed himself to be hounded out of the world which was created by him, just as God was chased from the world supposedly created by him. But Christ is not a God; Christ really exists, we have the proofs, of which the strongest is the world he really did create: this Christian civilization could not possibly have come about on its own, and it can only persist in him; it is the result of his genius. Some critics they are, inventing demiurges! Only an erudite criticism could turn the greatest act of genius, the indisputably most important basic fact of our history and of our life, into the combined feat of the gospel chroniclers! Anyone capable of a little light reflection is cleverer than this criticism, which looks important and erudite only to the ignorant and unthinking. Every other scholasticism was more intelligent: even with its miracle-fever it was a thousand times smarter than this scholasticism with its fever of criticism. This criticism, at the summit of its fatuity, could maintain with more justification that the works of Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Rembrandt and Beethoven are the creation of their biographers, that Goethe's works were by Heinrich Duntzer or even that Heine's works were forged by the genius, Adolf Bartels. And this, gentle reader, brings us to the second stage of insane arrogance and demonic criticism which directly succeeds the first stage of frivolity and lunacy:
¶ People with coarse and common minds enjoy feeling that they have somehow dragged down a lofty spirit, in particular where Jews and Jewry are involved. Where it is a matter of Jews and Jewry, even people who are not especially coarse and common have a sense of delight and self-righteousness when backstairs literature comes up the front stairs. Man has a great fund of moralism, either for his own use or for use against others, but against none of these others is it so enormous as against the Jews, and even against each individual Jew. Moralism is what makes man. For moralism is the good in man; and it really cannot be denied that, as well as bad qualities, men have good ones too , if one considers how they are far more virtuous and decent when judging others than in their own behaviour. And the reason why they are quick to be so enormously good even to the individual Jew, the reason why they have such tremendous moralism, is because they always only pursue moralism towards those whom they know. And since they know all Jews (for it is well known that all Jews are alike—they know "the" Jew), the entire portion of moralism allotted to the approximately 15 million Jews falls with its whole weight on each individual Jew. As to the non-Jew, the very fact that he is not a Jew makes him 15 million times better than the 15 million Jews and better than he is in reality, which tremendously enhances the self-image of every individual, moralistic non-Jew. This also explains why those who hate Jews not only moralistically but also logically—since it is moralism that makes man—do not regard the Jew as a human being at all.
¶ We must not allow ourselves to forget this connection, this malevolent ulterior motive on the part of moral-critical arrogance, which in modern times has come to be the main motive of more and more people, assisting "criticism" to a position of prominence far and wide. For criticism, after all, is a sophisticated fashion, albeit an educated and even erudite fashion; and, as is the case with all sophisticated fashions, even the unsophisticated want to wear them. (This marks the progress of our age and gives it such an appearance of sophistication, that everyone wants to be as refined as everyone else.) Thus this refined fashion is also worn by the unrefined—though of course they are not really unrefined, partisan and wayward: in fact they take their stand on the results of scholarship, of natural science! Alas, they are not aware that science too is a matter of our egoism, and only becomes less partisan to the extent that it detaches itself from these mutually conflicting interests. Wherever scholarship comes into contact with the clash of interests, it becomes drawn into it, and the opinions and generalizations of the learned proliferate according to their concerns, real or supposed—latet dolus in generalibus!e18 Humanity has a talent for science, but it is not aware what its science is and what it can be; it is not aware that it can also be, and is, the science of arrogance and hatred. This has been observable all down the ages in the scientific judgement, of Jews and everything connected with Jewish matters; apart from a very few scholars, the learned world has always been prejudiced, full of hate and malice.
¶ So long as Christ signified God, one could take a certain amount of comfort; for God's ways are marvellous, and if he actually wanted to go through the ultimate in terms of human suffering and humiliation, it was understandable that he descended to the level of the most despised and despicable people, the Jews, who, after all, had also been made by him. (For at that time people failed to notice that it was the Jews, too, who had made this God; because of their own belief in God, people were not able to hold the Jews guilty here. They only begin to become aware of it as a result of the tremendous progress of the Enlightenment, which brings the full malice toward Jews to light for the first time). Now, however, the more Christ stands recognized in general terms as a man, the more ill-starred the Jew Christ becomes. Christ a Jew?! In that case—given the undoubtedly true racial theory—how could the Jewish race be inferior? Then we, who have not produced such a genius, would be the inferior race! This is nonsense, since we are the highest race, as the scientific truth of the racial theory proves, and this in turn demonstrates the indubitable scientific integrity and truth of the theory itself. This Christ is ruining the whole racial theory! This realization makes utter desperadoes of some of them, with the result that they actually rediscover their pagan devotion and feel imbued with the spirit of Wotan, exalting the God Wotan against the God Christ, or even try to demonstrate the existence of Wotan the man!12 This cannot be: this man, central to our humanity, from whom it has taken so much, whose existence has had more consequence than that of any other man, countless consequences, whose life and death has been called the most important event ever to have taken place on this Earth (Carlyle)—and our pagan Goethe himself exclaimed: "The human spirit will never progress beyond the sublimity and moral culture of Christianity as it glows and shines forth in the Gospels"—this most celebrated man of the whole human race, this man of total authority, whom we do not even dare to call a Jew, cannot and must not be a Jew. Better that he had never existed at all! But then all the honour would accrue to other Jews, with the result that people would be indebted to even more Jews. In any case, even if he were made into the abstraction of some contemporary Jewish current of thought, it would still be to the credit of Jewry, making it impossible to find fault with it; after all that, a little reflection always keeps bringing us back to Christ as a unique human individual ... And so it has been going on for nearly two thousand years: the Christ hanged on a tree, the Gnostic Christ, the Christ of religion, the scholastic-Aristotelian Christ; and it will not be long before the present non-existent Christ has just as much power, fame and originality in the world as all the earlier Christs. The Christ who was never born will never die, and will remain for ever as the great constellation in the heavens, outshining all our stars, causing all their fame to fade away! A disgusting originality! Is there nothing we can do against it? Are we so powerless, with our hatred and envy, with all our science? Thus, in its sickness, criticism passionately searches out similarities from every hole and corner of the world, to devalue this originality and strip it of its uniqueness. Even if all it comes up with are external similarities which do not affect things like originality and spiritual character, even if it never succeeds, in so much as a single point, in establishing a borrowing—the only borrowings are from the Bible and from the (then still oral) talmudic literature, from what was at the time the common spiritual property of all Jews13—it still affords some comfort. For after all, it is not truth they are seeking; they are completely incapable of seeking truth, or they would find it. They are not motivated by the interests of thought, but only by the instinctual thinking of their own self-interest and supposed interest. All their thinking contains is patches of self-interest; they have no areas of indifference where they might be able to recognize truth. All they have is the partiality of their loving, their possessing, their vain-glory and their arrogance; thus they actually have an interest in not recognizing the truth. Just take a look at those, in particular, who are obsessed with the interests of arrogance, with prejudice and hatred, and see how they balk at everything which might possibly deprive them of their arrogance, prejudice and hatred and contribute to healing them of their disease; see how they strike out at every physician who tries to help them. They desire nothing but what reinforces their sickness and heightens their fevered passion against mankind. They are not really looking for truth and for the genius. What they are looking for in the truth of the genius, they find in their professors and journalists. And what do they know of the real demands made on those who have sought and found Truth, the geniuses with their originality? They, and all their critics, do not even know that, just as men of all times and places have arms and legs and a nose, so their psychological causality and the productions they bring forth are similar. (The Mexicans knew of a human proto-mother, "the Woman with the Snake," who had two sons at enmity with one another, and they built towers like the Babylonians—which all sounds like a mockery of our Bible-Babel research.) Even less do they know that Truth is One, and wherever they see similarities these clodhoppers believe in dependence and borrowings, without realizing that, where genius and its originality is concerned, even manifest borrowing is irrelevant (cf. p. 126f. above), that originality is found wherever there is 'genial' naivete and the 'genial' greatness of context, the 'genial' unity of parts,14 and that the really great genius cannot manage without borrowing essential constituent elements. His originality does not consist in the invention of content but in this being one with the essence of his people, the essence of humanity, his oneness with the Spirit. Here we can no longer speak of borrowing, nor of old or new, but only of what is always and eternally true. So, since they are above and unaware of all this, even the sick scholar does them good, and finds in them believers in his authority and infallibility, just as the Bible once did. After all, their mental image of the damnably Jewish character of this Jew by blood is diminished and all kinds of "Aryan" elements come in. Ultimately, past all shame, its loud-mouthed bellowings of victory resounding far and wide, criticism marches across the last frontier and enters the land of brazen fraud, solemnly swearing that Christ has Aryan blood as well, that he has only Aryan blood, and that to say Christ is a Jew is a lie on the part of the Jews—for only Aryans can produce geniuses, only the Germanic peoples, only the anti-Semites: Christ is of Germanic race, Christ is a Westphalian, Christ is a Saxon anti-Semite!
¶ Scholarly criticism has come to this: it can now be enjoyed by the masses in the form of ultimate buffoonery, malice and spicy sleight-of -hand. Not only can it be enjoyed, not only has it reached its acme, where at last it can be pursued really energetically, now that the masses are rushing to get involved, it can be carried on with appropriate energy not only theoretically but, according to the ultimate goal of all science, the fruits of the theory can be harvested immediately. Immediate practical action can be taken: now, straight away, as a result of scientific knowledge, human beings can be subjected to violence and massacred. That is in fact what this critical scholarship has achieved in the world; so far, in all honesty, no other achievement, no good result has come to light. It only ministers to bestiality, the most bestial actions: it ministers to the practice of malice, and men only discover their real, bestial fury when moralism's reasons come into play, when they are egged on by inane slogans, putting into their mouths a noble self-righteousness against their victims. This noble indignation is the most bestial aspect of the human beast, if 'bestial' is the right word; for in doing so we are to all appearances, unjust to the rest of the animal world. In this respect human beings occupy the lowest animal level. (This only applies, of course, according to the common view which considers that there are higher and lower animals and naturally regards man as the highest animal on account of his civilization. From a philosophical point of view this is the crudest and most egotistic human conception, totally lacking in any notion of the nature and significance of thought in animals; and as far as human civilization is concerned, it would be just as easy to prove that humans are the lowest animals,e19—precisely because they have civilization and cannot do without it. Such foolish blathering, on the part of science, about lower and higher animals and homo sapiens! We can have no notion of how the other animal species see the world, but one thing is certain: no world-view of any other animal species is any less or more valuable than our human view.) What we are faced with here is something specific to the human animal, something devilish, when man reaches the ultimate degree of his motion in the world of motion, and his motion proceeds against his own kind with inspired malice. No other species seems to have descended so low as this, to a community of malice—and only on the basis of enthusiasm! It is a fact, and thus worth knowing, and even if very few men are capable of knowing and thinking it, it is right to spell it out here for those few: it is for the sake of utterly irrational words and because of their own utter wickedness that men persecute and torment entirely innocent people, killing them with such glee that under certain circumstances they are not afraid of being killed themselves in the process. Irrationality and malice are always lying in wait in the world of men, ready to unleash the shrillest tempests of diabolical barbarism. But wickedness needs to combine with the right kind of nonsense, otherwise it will not achieve the right result: the God, the God who was different—there was a thing! And today it is the race, the race that is different; there's a thing that will prove fateful again for the Jews—and this is one case when we really can hear the grass of history growing. We can realize for the first time the enormous irrationality of all the talk of the different races when we see it going hand in hand with malice, when it becomes clear that it can play the same role as that business of the different gods. Aha! now, with all their understanding, they're in malice up to their ears and beyond! In general we can say, moreover, that people live together all the more peaceably, the less they are dominated by theoretically irrational presuppositions. This must be obvious if we have a proper understanding of our consciousness such as is taught by the Doctrine of the Spiritual Elite and the Multitude, according to the maxim: Wrong thought leads to wrong living. Those who see the retreat of religion and the march of technology, as increasing mankind's happiness have failed to understand the dangers inherent in a metaphysics and a moralism which are patterned on religion; they have no eyes to see the ills which will be brought upon us by the theoretical presuppositions of materialism, of a monism based on a doctrine of development, of nationalism and the theory of race. They do not see that human beings do not think; that what is called thought is only the narrowest and most short-sighted provident care of life on the part of individuals, and that they follow their communitarian and insane logic as if it represented their loftiest and most sacred ideals. This is confirmed by their entire history, and we can be sure that our madness is equal in value and achievement, and makes people just as brutal and diabolical, as the madness of earlier centuries. Man in society will always become an enthusiastic blackguard, for that is what he is in himself until, in a different society, he either regains his integrity or becomes a different kind of blackguard. Just as, in most cases, it is nothing but insane slander to call one man a blackguard, whereas the real scoundrels and criminals who have not the slightest stirring of conscience go unmentioned, it is equally indisputable that there is a blackguardry, produced in society by imitation, through all ages. All conscience is stifled; each person finds support in the others, finds confirmation of his honourable and noble motives; the only ones who actually feel this blackguardry are its entirely innocent victims.
¶ We will not go into detail here about where this criticism eventually ends up. Even where criticism does not share the motives to which we have referred and does not make Christ into an Aryan, or an Aryan folksong, it still gets no nearer to the truth. In denying the historical reality of Christ, while it does not directly result in men's ultimate baseness against individuals and is not so directly a danger to human life for those who come within its range, such criticism, though it lacks deliberate malice, is all the more repulsive and all the more dangerous to souls. Indeed, it is one of the most disheartening indications of that most important truth (which lies very deep and hence is usually not taken into account) which we have summed up in terms of the relation between the multitude and the genius. To our horror and despair this relation reveals that the expert's cleverness, devoid of spirit, is completely incapable of allowing the least element of genius to penetrate it. As far as the expert critics are concerned, genius seems only to be there so that their reason can evaporate in its presence. Certainly they recognize geniuses as geniuses—once they have been recognized as such and been given the name genius; then they fill the world with their writing, and if one looks at the world one cannot understand how the Spirit can still brood upon the waters. But if a genius happens not to be given the name genius, but is called something else, as was the case with Jesus Christ, it never occurs to them that they might be in the presence of Genius. In such a case they manage to believe that there is nothing there at all, and deny Jesus Christ; though, as we have seen, they only need to deny Jesus, since they are not even aware of Christ. 0 shrewd and erudite criticism, that fails to discern the presence of genius!
Howe'er profound, arithmetic and mensuration
¶ Of course it was only a polite slip of the pen, which I now heartily regret, that caused me to say earlier on that, with regard to the life of Christ, the criticism of the experts should have been concerned with the latter; in fact they would have seen nothing. I have shown that geniuses are born. Once this has happened, it is too late for the critics; what they see in the born genius is always only his ungenial features, and their own moralism. The kings who came to the Christ-child in the manger arrived too late; they met the ox and ass, the experts, incapable of seeing anything. And as to the unreliability of the experts when it comes to evaluating higher spirits, is it necessary to say any more after what has been said, after all the criticism applied to these critics by the lofty spirits, after all the criticism applied by Socrates and Christ? There is a moral here—but critics learn nothing. Geniuses may do what they will with the erudite critics; the latter will go on regarding themselves as their favourite devotees in precisely the same way that certain fops react to beautiful women. Nor have all the historical gaffes made by the learned and expert critics, which they themselves are obliged to gaze upon and relate, succeeded in giving them a horror of being learned and expert critics. They recount how they were made to shut their mouths as if it had nothing to do with them, and as if they hadn't got into a tight spot. Their own age gives them credit, and cannot see that they are the same people as before and that they are carrying on their old profession. So it is the same as in Christ's life: Christ still suffers most at the hands of the scholars! They still carry on their mockery of him, dressing him up with a stage sceptre and purple robe, and undressing him again. Thus we have not yet succeeded in finding any reason for speaking any better of the learned men than Christ did; we mark well their sheer nonsense, and we do not see that they have any claim to be spared. Learned criticism does not see Christ the Genius; criticism's express purpose seems to be to show that the genius is not recognized by the world. The way the Christ of the gospels is treated by the historicocritical method is the most grandiose demonstration of this.
¶ In the matter of the Genius we find the maximum of helplessness, confusion and blindness, in a clever person with eyes open, summed up totally characteristically in one of the most rabid deniers of Christ, Robertson, in his book A short history of Jesus: "By turns a particularist and a universalist, a rigorously orthodox Jew and a citizen of the world, a friend of the people yet entertaining a Gnostic scorn of their ignorance, a preacher of peace and love yet bitterly attacking his enemies; now urging unlimited forgiveness, now insisting on the exclusion of recalcitrant brethren; proposing the utter fulfillment, and the abrogation, of the Jewish law; now promising temporal blessings and now denying them, both revealing and then seeking to conceal his belief in his Messianic dignity; sometimes enjoining silence, and sometimes proclamation of the message, upon his hearers; now bidding his disciples to have blind faith, and now prescribing simple good works. Thus he is the most self-contradictory product of a hundred hands working against each other, a mixture of voices such as never could, and never did, belong to one and the same personality." Mr Robertson is right: a Christ of that kind is totally impossible, he is in every way impossible, he can only be unqualifiedly real—which is what is meant by genius. And while a man of such extreme contradictions is not impossible (and there Mr Robertson is wrong), he is right when he says that such a man would no more have lasting influence than a liar. It is a fact, however, that what Robertson calls the most self-contradictory product has had the most marked and lasting historical influence, and still maintains the greatest power over our reality. Thus it must embrace the most varied and comprehensive relationships to humanity, and therefore it must also be something other than the product of contradictions, or rather, it must be more than merely the product of contradictions. If there are contradictions (which undeniably there are), there must be something else as well, making them more than contradictions, perhaps sublimating them to a higher level where they exist by right and necessity. In a word, the word we have already used, what we have here is the essence of genius, and Mr. Robertson's astonishment is as if he were astonished to find that water was wet. He should have considered his fellow countryman, Shakespeare, and his Hamlet, who is regarded as a genius; and in what does the genius of Hamlet consist? In contradictions, in the unity of the most extreme contradictions. Genius shows itself in the unity of contradictions, for the genius is the human being who contains everything, who is ever in the Cogitant. He is not the ideated with the contradictions involved in what is ideated; he thinks the unity of all things, including the contradictions in their unity; nothing can conflict with his thought from the outside because from the very outset his thought contains all possibility within it. So Hamlet, in so far as he is the image of genius, is the union of contradictions. I have already observed how obscure is the image of man we find in Hamlet compared to that we find in Christ, and that the image of Christ, that most remarkable of all men, is far and away the most lucid of all human images. Let us go on to say that the most remarkable man of our history, after Christ (and although his significance is far less than Christ's), a man whose image seems to me to be that of the man par excellence, is Socrates, the genius Socrates. (And, by the way, his life too could be constructed and invented from ancient Greek sources just as easily as in the case of Christ; moreover, the chief originality, the dialectical 'midwife' method of this alleged Socrates could easily be traced back to Buddha; for Buddha is genuinely Socratic a hundred times, and never once speaks like Christ.) No one, however, disputes the existence of Socrates, and so I ask the critics this: how will they understand all the oppositions and contradictions in the life of this living genius?
¶ But they fail to connect one genius with another in their minds, and when for one reason or another they are obliged to be silent, they say nothing. They do not understand (nor do they want to) and yet they say that they do understand. On the other hand, when they think they can make a great noise, they bellow that they do not understand and that therefore it cannot be right. The critics want to understand the genius! They want to dissolve his work, his life, in their thoughts!—in their words!!—IN THEIR LACK OF CONTRADICTION!! They are not like the genius, and keep on imagining that the genius must be like them, must be as they would be if they were geniuses; i.e., they want to have the Spirit without spirit, they desire the abrogation of genius. The reason why the genius is not understood is simply because he is a genius, because he is greater than those who would understand him with all their concepts of genius, the paraphernalia of people who want to understand; their concepts of genius are, of course, no higher than they themselves, and with these concepts they want to understand the genius and reduce mountains to the level of their plain. What are they doing with impossible opposites and contradictions in the presence of the miracle of genius! They are the dead, and the genius is the living; the tension generated by opposites is the life of the genius, a life which knows no contradiction. All men bear irreconcilable contradictions within themselves, mechanically opposed and juxtaposed, often to their own great astonishment; only the genius does not. What, for all other men, is a case of either/or, is, for the genius, a case of both/and. All men bear irreconcilable contradictions within them because they have not achieved the unity of consciousness, their authentic "I-Self". Only the genius has achieved this; it is the precondition without which genius cannot exist. As to the critics, they have no notion of it. They have no notion of the communicatio naturarume20 in the genius, of the wealth of the dynamic unity of the Cogitant and the ideatum, of the communicatio naturarum in all the countless forms of the ideatum. In the genius, in the Cogitant, where all is limitless and immense, even in love and anger, there are no contradictions, there is neither opposition nor juxtaposition, but only co-inherence: it is the same as with the attributes of substance, which ultimately are its unity. And the less the critics understand the miracle of genius, the more we see it shining forth and the more firmly and ardently we believe in it. For genius, of course, is a miracle—we do not deny this—but is not the world full of miracles? And as for the genius of Christ, for instance, in which the innermost essence of existence is completely laid bare, is it not a great miracle of nature?
¶ The world is full of miracles; for miracles are the rule, without exceptions. I would like to know of all its miracles, just as I know of the sun and the night-owls (who know nothing of the miracle of the blessed sun), and of the faithful truth which surrounds us at all times. The critics know of the stunning miracles of their deluded imagination, but they neither know nor believe the spring-fresh miracles of daylight reality; they do not believe in the genius who searches for us in order to impart a miraculous quality to us also. They know nothing of the mystical Genius, they know nothing at all of mystics, and that in our world too there are people with mystical natures, characterized by both tenderness and the power of their essence. But the critics are the kind of people whose spirit is closed to all that is tender and powerful, and at no point are they more ignorant than as regards these mystical natures in the world who, with the totality of their thoughts and lives, indicate the reality of the archetypal phenomenon of Christ. At no point do the critics display more ignorance than as regards mystics and their genuine mystery, namely, that the mystics believe in no God. The critics cannot understand that these pious and religious human beings, who talk of nothing but God, are in fact speaking of nothing other than their own Selves. Eckhart may talk about nothing else but his own Self, but the critics know nothing of this mystery of the mystical Genius; since Eckhart now and again uses the word God, they assume that he is talking about the God in whom they believe or do not believe, and nothing else. And even when Christ, the true Israel,e21 who wrestled with God and vanquished him, actually speaks unequivocally and exclusively of his own Self, no longer taking the word God on his lips at all, they simply do not notice it. What else should Christ, the founder of the Christian religion, speak about, but God?! The critics are simply not in a position to catch sight of the genius. The primal image of the genius is missing from their thought, and without it they cannot glimpse a single manifestation of genius. That is why so-called 'objective' criticism is bound to end with the utter denial of the most 'genial' subject, with the result that the latter's predicates go running around the world without a subject. Objective criticism! As if there could be such a thing! Even where criticism is applicable, it can only exist where people have a primal image of which the thing criticized is an instance; and even there the critics are eternally bound to their subjectivity. But in the case before us they are subjects confronting other subjects, of whom, and of whose primal image, they have no inner perception; here their criticism is not valid, for their own subject lacks an essential predicate—endowment—which would enable them to undertake criticism. But they do not know that their criticism is invalid because they are unaware of their missing endowment; so they go on pronouncing verdicts and criticizing. And who does not judge and criticize? And who is quite clear about the role played by his own subject in judgment and criticism, and whether it is suitably gifted or inappropriately simple? Criticism is that which has no conception of genius, and the only correct view of genius is the 'genial,' which lets genius be genius, Spirit, not the letter, not the clod. Where genius is concerned, therefore, the critics' criticism is totally out of place. What could they understand of genius, these critics, these pedants, who are so nice in their attempts to trim the flame that they put it out; these philistines, these anti-geniuses, these empty vessels which, even on the wide ocean, can only hold their own paltry measure. Their criticism only applies to the relative ideatum; they can never come near the Absolute, the Cogitant, and the geniuses who think the Absolute. What is missing from their souls is the sound, the energy of the primal image; they lack the love which transcends into the sphere of the Cogitant. They are beyond help, they lack salt—if salt has lost its savour, wherewith can it be salted? says a Jewish proverb made famous by Christ (Bekhorot 8b). They lack endowment and the genius's approach, the approach of eros, of love for absolute Truth and for the genius. That is the root of their ignorance, that is why they refuse to admit genius and generally write of it in such death-dealing terms, instead of pointing to it, saying: There it is! Awake, psalter and harp, awake! There it is!—and satisfying their own hunger by participating in this way of living with eternity.
¶ They have no notion of what they are doing with their attempt to commit critical murder, nor how they are despoiling poor, stupid, suffering humanity, suffering mostly through its own fault, abominable as it is, beloved, full of longing, poor and becoming more impoverished with its contemporary literature. Humanity has enough idols, Elilim, Al-Elim, worthless fictions and self-styled revelations, which only serve to drive people even deeper into their evil bestiality. They ought to acknowledge Jahve, the Cogitant genuinely present within them, Absolute Being, which is revealed to them really and truly, with the certainty of the Spirit, in the utterly exceptional human geniuses. Mankind ought to hold fast to these men and thus lift itself up through them, being continually reassured of their existence and infinite significance, of their perfection and exemplary character. It is not enough for mankind to possess the thoughts, the words and the works of the Spirit; it needs men and women of the Spirit, people who are really alive, who cannot be killed, historical people who live and take decisions on an eternal plane; they are humanity's flesh and blood, its heartbeat, its love and compassion. Mankind would do better to deny that there are scoundrels in it, to deny that it contains philistines and critics, than to doubt that there are men of genius with the assurance of the Spirit. Hence these critics of the Bible and of Christ are worse than blasphemers against God: they blaspheme against the genius and thus against mankind. Criticism compromises genius in order to make philistines of all humanity; it hacks the human genius to pieces, and even goes further—we may well clasp our heads in amazement, but if we stop and look we shall see that the selfsame critic who has smashed up our healthy frame now presents himself as its doctor. There was once a surgeon living at the point where two roads met. His corner house had an entrance on each road. At night he used to come forth from one door as a knave and attack solitary passers-by, breaking their arms and legs, and then, shortly afterwards, he would come out of the other door to render compassionate and competent assistance, binding up and healing the victims' wounds. That is what our critics are like. At the end of all their dirty tricks they have another one for us: they themselves actually play the deliverer, proposing to unite authentic Christianity—which they suddenly mention out of the blue—with authentic Monism, Spinozism as they call it (as if Christ and Spinoza were not already one!). And they want to perform this task of unification using their pitiful, critically erudite, botched writings, which are devoid of all thought and all joy, and destroy anything that has a soul; they condemn the reader to the very same meagre fare and boredom from which, as he observes, the writers themselves perish. And if, against all expectation, these writers experience their raptus in coelum,e22 truth is supposed to come to their whistling like a beaten dog. Heaven preserve us from the inhuman writings of the academics, who, having shown what they are by their books of criticism, seriously think they have something of historical significance to contribute to mankind! Heaven rescue us from this age of scribbling and give us One Book instead of the hundred thousand learned volumes, give us a new Bible without taking the old one from us; give us the old Bible! Give us the Bible which is to be found in this old Bible, its humanity, the honesty with which man shows his face, the unimpeded path to truth and the spirit of the prophets. Enable us to eradicate from the Bible what has been added by literature and superstition, and to lift the veil of Moses and the veil of Christ. That is biblical criticism of the kind we can practise. The Bible is still good, and the less learning is applied to it, the better: the am haaretz literature of the New Testament, with all it contains that is superstitious and absurd, is still the best of the good Book. For in it lives the spirit of prophecy, in it lives Christ with his fearless, fierce and sublime lion-heart. With all their tastelessness, the evangelists had the right taste and the best style, because they had to speak of him who was the Best: they relished Christ, they had to tell of the person of Jesus Christ. That is the best of the Bible: the person of Jesus Christ. Let us be critical, let us be cautious, let us not drink right down to the lees—but deliver us from the deliverers with their learned literature, stop them practising their cures on our sickness. We are sick enough, without more of their slush. All right, I will not slander them by failing to mention their magnanimity: they do not want to be exclusive in playing the deliverer, writing on Christianity as improved by them and on a Spinozism cleaned with their critical clothes brush. They are ready to acknowledge—indeed, they insist—that, as well as their own literature of accreditation, there is room for other literature, Kant, perhaps, and definitely Shakespeare and Goethe, and Schiller too, and of course the Heroes of the fine arts. (Though as far as Kant is concerned, none of them is acquainted with him. No single one of them has the ability or the seriousness to get to know Kant, although they all act as if they knew him, as if they found it easy to enter into his most concentrated thought. They are aware neither of his eminent intelligence nor of the fact that his whole life was an embrace with superstition. Kant is beyond their ken, but this does not stop any of those who ape him from speaking as his most devoted patrons, for he is the celebrated Kant, the celebrated Unknown.)
¶ All the literature and the art of the world cannot give us what Christ and Spinoza have given us, and that goes for "Christianity" and "Spinozism" too. It is of the most tremendous practical importance for humanity to know that such human beings have lived, human beings entirely certain of the Spirit. For our very health's sake, we shall throw the whole critical box of tricks into a corner, on the rubbish heap with all the other scholasticisms, sooner than take flight from loving these men, endowed with the powers of eternity. These powers inspire us with confidence that it is possible to live according to a higher life-principle than that which our humanity follows, with its emptiness, indecision, flatness, weakness, lack of inner peace and mutual malice. The critics know nothing of literature, of great men and their inspired deeds. They do not perceive genius; well and good, we shall not perceive the critics and their new fashions. We shall follow neither future fashions nor those of the past; believe me, it will be all the better for us, the more we hold on to the core of what is great and the further we keep away from the scholars. We must beware of their fashions. The way they change, immediately making themselves at home in whatever is new, not only manifests their instability and the incompleteness of their thought, but also unequivocally demonstrates the worthlessness of their trade. As long as we live, let us keep out of the way of their silly squabbles as to whether Homer wrote Homer, or Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare, or Christ was Christ—0 heaven, deliver us from this age of scribblers!—here is Homer, here is Shakespeare, here is Christ! What significance, in comparison, have the ineradicable contradictions of ineradicable criticism, with its idiotic hacking to pieces of those who, after all its efforts, remain eternally whole and entire! Awake, here is Christ! And let anyone who cannot stay awake, and who has the stomach for it, go back to criticism and Arthur Drews, and let him be lulled to sleep again by the proof that there is no Christ! The critics have little notion of literature, and they have none at all of the really authentic literature that is life and that makes demands of men. It demands that man enter into himself; it calls for the whole man. But it seeks him, not as an external product, an external producer, produced by and producing others; it asks him: What hast thou produced within thyself? Thou must produce the Spirit inwardly for thyself; produced, begotten as thou art, thou art not yet what the human being is to be. Thou must be born again through thyself, giving new birth to others! Genuine literature calls for the reborn, new man; it calls for the egoistic, superstitious man to be converted to the truth of his spiritual Self, to create himself inwardly, to achieve freedom, to develop his own blessedness. That is what true literature asks of man's life; indeed, it is nothing than this desire. But as for this literature of ours, half jesting or even wholly jesting and frivolous, this literature which is something apart from life, a literature on its own account and out of the blue, a literature to lift us occasionally out of our busy and pointless preoccupations, for the sake of pleasure and vulgarity—this will only rob us of literature and of life itself. It devours the life, naivete, naturalness, nature, freedom and power of the Self, the Spirit. Come, let us end with an honest and sincere word about literature and our relation to it, and about the two things which we only come to know through literature, though they are much more than literature. We have done our stitching: now we must fasten it off. Let us not go our separate ways without having reached clarity, firmness and resolution in our ideas; in fact, let us not separate any more at all: let us hold together from now on and walk together the path to eternity. To that end we must become aware of our life's stance vis-a-vis the confusion of the world. We must learn how to stand firmly on our own feet, pursuing the only path which can lead our life up into the Truth of the Spirit, into freedom and eternity.
¶ It is our wrong conception of literature and our relationship to it that is the cause of our impotence and sickness. Our relationship to world literature is not such as to put our world in touch with spirit and freedom. Our relationship to the world's literature cannot help us because we have roughly the same relationship to the world's trash; and in by far the most significant cases, as with our Bible, literature and trash have got as hopelessly mixed up as mouse-droppings and coriander seed. Our task must be to separate the two and take care that the dangerous element no longer threatens us. Let us not underestimate the power of literature: its power is unlimited. Greece and Rome thought nothing of the thirty thousand gods, and the mysteries, and all the art treasures and all the poets and philosophers of Greece and Rome; Greece and Rome, and all humanity, regarded the whole of civilization as nothing, and the poor hanged Jew as everything, as their Lord, to whose service they gave everything they had not thrown away. And all this came through the Jewish am haaretz literature. The entire, visible, iron power of all the mighty nations bowed down before the Spirit's invisible, insubstantial reality, manifested in this am haaretz literature of a little nation which was almost invisible, and which, to the extent it was visible, was despised: this genus alterum, this "second human race," in which the pure Spirit, which now put forth its power in the world through this am haaretz literature, had always glimmered. Though it no longer burned with a pure flame, (it had already been made worldly, rendered religious and hence the very antithesis of the Spirit), all the same, it was mightier than all other literature and art, mightier than all the world's culture of sense and intellect because it still contained, alive within it, so much of Christ's will to raise humanity up and bring it into a relationship with the Spirit, which had been lacking in the ancient world. But humanity could not be brought into this relationship, could not be elevated; it clung more to what was base in this literature than to what was lofty, dragging what was low even lower. And no other literature, quite apart from the fact that none came near it in terms of influence, could elevate humanity. In spite of this, humanity continues to follow literature; the human world is the result of literature; it is literature which carries men and women along, people who, in truth, are born, not to think, but to imitate (cf. p. 78 above). Whether literature is spiritual or unspiritual and senseless, holy or impure, by nature good or by nature wolf-like, it carries human beings along with great force; and in speaking of literature we need to question whether, instead of elevating us, it has not in fact become a danger to our life. In reality, has it not hindered and corrupted more people than it has awakened and educated? The way our literature is developing, does it not threaten formally to bar the way to any real elevation of the Spirit? Or do people imagine that the froth of our education, as it boils away, is literature and the work of genius? What kind of literature is this, that anyone can jump in and try his luck among the other players? For they are simply playing with literature. What will become of us, surrounded by this swarm of litterateurs and scribblers? As far as their ink is concerned, the Koran would never say that the writer's ink and the martyr's blood are of equal value in heaven. Their motive for writing is entirely different—namely vanity and arrogance—and the process involved in their writing is entirely different from that of the writers of Truth who strive solely to uncover the essence; no conscience stirs within them, suggesting that they might be having a contaminating effect with their lyrical tinklings and improprieties, with all their caterwauling of love. For two hundred years literature, completely secularized, has been working away at man's freedom in the world and through the world—a literature made completely worldly, i.e., only knowing about the world and natural conditions, knowing nothing of the world's relationship to the invisible Spirit and of the revelation which comes thence—and in all that time the abuse of freedom has grown as big as the freedom achieved (and bigger), and the discord has intensified. For in earlier times strife was experienced chiefly in wars and party struggles, whereas now division goes right through families and through the hearts of individuals. What we have now is not simply confusion and distress for the sake of possessions and of honour/vanity: now, in addition, society is torn apart by the immoralist emancipation of love; and immoralism is really far worse than moralism: indeed, it is the worst side of moralism. That is why, like moralism, it incites people. Anyone who is acquainted with human beings and their inability to think, will know what they can be stirred up to; and if anyone wants to study the progress of history, let him reflect upon the increase in incitement in the world at the hands of the vile men of the age, who play a far bigger role, dragging people down, than such an exalting man of eternity as Christ.
¶ Let him realize that, to our world, gall tastes sweeter than honey. Our most influential literature is the literature of incitement, and now it incites people against each other and enslaves them to each other not only for the sake of possessions and pride: the literature of love is the same, inciting people to make one another unhappy, stirring up human beings against their own selves, making them unleash the most unrestrained side of their natures and subjecting them in slavery to it. We shall take a long time to recover from this love-incitement; it has attacked the fundamentals of humanity's life, poisoning it for many generations to come. Truth and freedom have no other enemies, even among us, but the lust for love, possessions and vainglory. But now we find all three of these enemies unleashed upon us as never before. Never before was sexual love so unloosed upon us, so thoughtlessly, so totally without conscience, with such sickly heightened craving, as we find in the poison of the literature of romance—a degrading literature, marred by sophistry and so depraved that it is proud of its depravity. And that is supposed to be the banquet of the higher life? It is a devils' orgy. What people partake of at devils' orgies, golden cups and delicious cakes, is found next day to be earthy vulgarity and excrement. Are we supposed to be edified by this literature, this rubbish, which only undermines the foundations and destroys both the age and the soul? All these scribblers destroy both the age and the soul, i.e., time and eternity, for those who read them. The epidemic of wanting to produce literature is so contagious in this age of litterateurs, when we lack a genuine literature of the will to life. Literature is still being written by countless writers, but it is not read. We should oppose the first kind of writing as passionately as we oppose fornication, and the second kind as if it were masturbation. We must pray, yes, pray: Heaven rescue us from this age of scribbling and from the vermin of a scribbled education!
¶ We lack a literature of the will to life. Our literature, instead of contributing towards life, has become weariness of life for both parties, for the litterateurs who read and the litterateurs who write, whose natures have become dull and incapable of realizing themselves; they are no longer natural but the product of what they read; their characters have been corrupted by aestheticism. Along with education came the cult of aestheticism, and aestheticism brought with it the emasculation and dissolution of characters, insincerity in daily life, the wringing of hearts and hands, and, after the most exalted love and the warmest expressions of gratitude, the overnight change to indifference, betrayal, malice: "I was mistaken; now I am disenchanted. It was not real love" (indeed it was not, for they do not understand real love, nor is there any genuineness or enchantment in them). Our literature must leave its playing and its weariness behind and once more put its hand to the task of building life, and the higher life; it must get back on to the path of sincerity and become an honourable literature, if it can no longer be a holy literature. There ought properly to be no other writings but holy writings, revealed by the Holy Spirit and manifesting a prophetic, holy will to act on life; only writings such as these ought to be held in "honour." In our case writing has been a scandal for so long that, appropriately enough, it has come to be held in honour; but far too many of our writers enjoy a respect to which they are by no means entitled. There ought to be no other writers but genuinely prophetic ones. Indeed, the prophets are everything—and in detail—that our popular leaders, our writers and journalists with their press, are not. They are everything the latter ought to be if they are to be anything other than false and lying prophets who never saw a vision and who follow their own spirit and their own illusory phantoms. Genuine prophets, with all their books of revelation and of love, are not concerned about their books. The genuine prophet wants us to be able to dispense with all his books once they have enabled us to enter with our lives, into a fundamental relationship with truth; for books are written, whereas what they signify is life. But the prophets operated on the basis of inspiration; our litterateurs are motivated by vanity. This literature of ours, which does not spring from revelation and love, but merely from the litterateurs'own hearts, which, though they are not full, insist on overflowing—hearts which are arrogant, fame-seeking, lacking all conviction, wild and impure. Such literature does more to distort our relationship to truth, to obscure truth, than the tradition which usurps the place of the Spirit's revelation, i.e., the human precepts of rabbinic and ecclesiastical tradition. This literature, devoid of genius, is a misfortune, and there is only justification for the men of letters in so far as they minister to the operation of genius, i.e., to the Spirit at work in men's lives; they are only justified as the genius's evangelists and apostles—Unum enim habetis doctorem!e23 What have we come to with this lawless and dishonourable literature, which no longer seeks inspiration from our time and from eternity but is pieced together from literature of past ages, constructing works of art only to dismantle them, as many beautiful women do with their faces before retiring to bed! What we are experiencing is a high degree of literary misfortune, and we only make it worse; who can set forth the whole misery of our literature, which lays waste our feelings, the entire area of our emotions, tearing out all feelings and shamelessly exposing them! And we no longer learn anything from it! For every genuine poet also teaches us things. In our case, however, the matter to be taught and the poetic component are divided up between the philologists and the poets; we learn nothing from the former since they are too crude and critical, and nothing from the latter because they are too refined; they, are so refined that everything common to man is far below them. Dear, delicate souls, who only chirrup of themselves in addition to claiming that they have discovered, at last, the true philosophy and the true religion, and have chirruped it forth in the approved literary chirrup-style which they themselves have invented. And as for this style—what have we come to with the style of this literature?! It looks like the complete dissolution of literature. The style of the most modern literature (with its grammar thrown hither and thither, and all the rest which does not fit anywhere) gives the impression of a complete dissolution of literary style and the suppression of all naturalness. No less does the style of modern art dissolve style, destroying the basis on which all art stands, namely, naturalistic similarity. It even does this in the case of portraiture (but I am still in favour of the old "know thyself" portraits). It destroys all the expressive media of art, annihilating all naturalness and rebelling insanely against the Spirit. As a result, of all the modern artists, very few have sufficient ecstatic power to penetrate all this confusion and death and manifest, here and there, life and the will to truth. Now and again, by way of exception, someone may climb the Tower of Babel and strive towards God, not wantonly, but in genuine piety.
¶ No salvation can come to us from this kind of ill-begotten and soul-destroying art and literature, from this tickling of the senses, this dressed-up vacuity, this trotting-out of phrases, this confusion, this whipping-up of emotion which the public has to swallow from its newspapers every day, morning, noon and night. At the present time many of these newspapers have openly made a pact with malice. Judged mildly, they could be regarded simply as some of the world's negative phenomena: now, however, they are the bane of a society which lacks the Spirit and yet has a high opinion of itself.
¶ Furthermore, they actually incite people; we may go so far as to say that, without the newspapers, we would not have had this World War. The newspapers are by no means the smallest ingredient of our misfortune; any person of the better sort who wishes to improve himself must avoid reading them and must stand firm in his resolve not to read them. Are we to suppose that this literature, this press, can be of any advantage to the masses, with their vacillating understanding, their rapacious and cowardly hearts, overshadowed by fear, who mock one another and want to tear each other to pieces? We must turn aside; for we cannot change or ameliorate it, strive as we may against it with elemental power. For one elemental power will not yield to the other. We must grasp the fact, and silence all the pain and sorrow it occasions, that almost all men live thus in a state of uncertainty and wretchedness, infinitely removed from their only real salvation. They are so unlike the really wondrous men with the certainty of the highest salvation, who can only be the saviours of extremely few, and who, in order to introduce even a little movement into human society, have to undergo a death-struggle with the leaders of this society, i.e., the learned. One thing is certain: if society is once more to be set in motion in an essential way, the future will be just like the past: it will be in the hands, not of the learned, but of the ammé haaretz! Ultimate salvation comes from those of whose significance, and, as it were, of whose purpose, you are not aware; whose very existence you seek to deny by demonstration, in the mischievous obstinacy of your historicism and so called "critical" scholasticism. Salvation comes from the only two human beings who were entirely steadfast, the twin crags of humanity. You know not what you do in denying the reality and bodily authenticity of Christ, this ceaseless and immediate relationship of the Relative to the Absolute, embodied in a human being. In doing so, you are denying the reality of the Spirit and making genius, the Spirit, into an illusion. "Criticism," to which genius remains invisible because it belongs to the realm of spirits, is a Docetisme24 with regard to genius, an error of cataclysmic proportions in its consequences for Christology (which, in reality, is the doctrine of Genius) and for higher anthropology, for all study of the Spirit. It will deprive us of all example and standards, and will take from us the lever which moves our freedom. You may still have the words and the work of Christ, but you do not have Christ, you do not have the man Christ. Christ's words and work are of no use to you: only the man Christ can teach you how to employ them. You must come to the man Christ, so that the man Christ may come to you. But you are still acting as though the man Christ never lived; you are the blind leading the blind. It only remains for you to contest the historical reality of Spinoza, the shattering beauty and holiness of Spinoza's life15 and we shall have been robbed of everything, robbed of the two entirely wondrous men.
¶ 0 you too are wondrous, Beethoven, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Rembrandt: yet only you, Spinoza and Christ, are wondrous in your entirety. The greatest thing that can be said of any human being can be said of you, namely that you have spiritual certainty. To enjoy spiritual certainty is nothing other than having absolute self-awareness, awareness of the "I-Self", which is not only the relative awareness of being human, but the awareness of being Spirit in all the purity of spiritual utterance coming from the Divine; it is to know oneself to be Spirit, as Christ knew himself; and let there be no more of that silly nonsense about man trying thus to make himself into God. Christ did not say, I am God, but I am Spirit, and as for your God and your heaven, together with your Heavenly Father—they do not exist; I am equal to the Father, and he who sees me, sees the Father, and I am in heaven! I have said that they have absolute self-awareness in all the purity of spiritual utterance concerning the Divine. For religious superstition is for ever lurching from "God is a man" to "God is not a man." Truly, therefore, this God is neither a man, nor no man, nor both; he does not exist at all. Man, however, relatively, is a man; absolutely he is not a man, but Spirit. Everything which is said about God to the effect that he is a man is religion, superstition, blasphemy of the Spirit. But everything that is said about God in so far as he is not a man, can be attributed to the absolute essence of man, the Spirit. Therefore Christ attributes all that is purely divine to himself. Thus, too, Spinoza says Deus sive natura, God or nature, and by nature here he does not mean the nature of things, the relative world, but natura naturans,e25—"the Father", the COGITANT, the Absolute, the One Spirit, the Ehad. This situates us in our very essence, whereas, with our relative existence and all our knowledge of this our relative existence, we only have our IDEATUM, our non-being, and fail to recognize anything of what we are. To find one's true Self in the One of the Spirit is to live in spiritual certainty. This is in reality the greatest thing which can be said of man, but it can only be realized in its entirety if we can grasp that living in spiritual certainty means nothing less than living without fear, without slavery, as great as life and death, not subject to the law of existence but one with it, as free as its legislator. We need to face the fact that the other men are all afraid, are all slaves, slaves to nature and slaves to each other. And this is because they live in uncertainty, lacking the will to selfhood, neglecting the Self and obscuring the Spirit. Thus, as a result of their awareness of their non-absolute being, they remain excluded from authentic participation in the really absolute essence of Being. These two of whom we speak, however, enjoy absolute self-awareness; they are certain, they are veritable rocks of certainty. They have no doubts, no problems of cognition; all their life long they stand in the complete peace of the one Spirit. Hence their lives know no discontent, no complaining and no anxiety, neither on account of their love's involvement, nor for their honour and vanity, nor for possessions. They do not look to others for help, need no other support outside themselves, and have no anxiety in the world, never succumbing to any of the continual attacks mounted by the world and by superstition. Their I is the great, spiritually absolute "I" in its freedom and self-sufficiency, invaded by no humility or melancholy when faced either with the world beyond or with the here-and-now, intimidated neither by men nor by a power superior to men. They need no saviour, these saviours, and no God—for they are really godless, free from the world and blessed in their "I-Self"; they are in the essence of the One and All. We may go right through our literature and art to find the most marvellous personalities: as against these two supremely marvellous and perennially great men, human beings fashioned as sturdily as truth itself, they are all tiny. For the lives of these personalities show them to be alternately great and small, like the Moon; they have their honour and their shame, they have much but not enough, they arrive too early or too late for this or that; they do not enjoy peace in their hearts, but are torn between two Wills, aroused to the pitch of the world's unrest, with fruitless, disordered desire, with anxieties, a troubled mind, sadness, pangs of conscience, thrown into turmoil by their senses, uneasy, sick, depressed; in the morning crying out for the evening, and in the evening for the morning. And which of them has come to terms with death? Did not even a Goethe say that immortality is truth because we cannot do without it! Which of them would dare to die if he did not have to? They are Spirit, but the garment of human nature lies too heavy on them; liberators, free in themselves, yet also unfree, having freedom as if they had it not, they are incapable of liberating others completely in the long run. As men they are uncertain and tormented, and so they lack the ultimate endowment, the strength to provide a redeeming example; nor do they possess the poise, springing from a united spirit and will, that manifests the essence, the entire essence, of genuine humanity. Hear 0 Israel, the essence is One!
¶ Hear 0 Israel—thou Ισραηλ πνευματικος, thou spiritual Israel of all nations of the world, thou noble hearer of the summons—the essence is One, the Cogitant is One. The Cogitant is the One and the All and each component of the Many, of the thingly reality of this world of motion, of the ideatum. For everything ideated is what is ideated by the Cogitant; it is the relative of the Absolute, the Absolute in the form of relativity. Happy or unhappy, all of us in the world of motion live the Many, ideated by the Cogitant. But the Cogitant, the essence, is One, and we are blessed in the Cogitant, in the essence, which is in us, not like the being of things, ideated things, things in motion, but which is truly in us, without having been drawn into motion; we become aware of it, secretly, at the point where motion ceases. Hear 0 Israel, Shema Yisrael, thou hast no gods, thou hast no God.
¶ Israel, hearken not to the Jews. Instead of being Spirit themselves, they make a God in heaven and say that Jahve is God. Israel never had a mythology, not even that of the single God Jahve. That is the only reason why Jahve has not passed away with the demise of the nation of Israel, as all national gods do, for Jahve is not a god. All gods are abominable idols, whether they are fashioned with the hands or with the mind; even the One God is an abominable idol. Thou hast no God, 0 Israel: the essence is thy God and thy rock—what is there apart from it? And thy psalmist sings: "Jahve, if I only possess thee, what need have I of heaven and earth?" The essence is in thee, thou art this essence, in thy worth which reaches from eternity to eternity, in thy eternal glory today and always: the essence is One: Jahve Ehad!
¶ Hearken to the great word which resounds through the world, the protest, the protestantism of the Spirit against the world's thought, the only word in the whole world which is without guile. For all the other words have an admixture of guile; even as they put forward their valid utterance, falsehood lurks within them, and their whole countenance must pass away if they do not strive to attain to this one word of truth which abides, drawn from the depths of our eternal Self and Essence: Jahve Ehad! All truths become untrue and come to grief when faced with this word; all else is deceit. Your life is a deception, your being good is a deception, and this entire, starry veil of nature is a deception, but Jahve Ehad! Hear, 0 Israel, this sole true word in the world—and hence a word that is always new.
¶ Hear 0 Israel, and see the two Israelites without guile, sent to accompany thee, who with their lives have survived the test because of this word of Truth, by whose liberated lives you can find, deep and clear, the wholesome certainty and perfection which you all seek, as being alone worthy of your consciousness and life. If you have lifted yourselves to an awareness of the lofty stature of human life, behold this exalted stature in these unconquerable princes of life. And this is the gospel: that it is possible to discover the Self which truly knows its own essence, which is not the victim of any illusion, any abandonment, fear, suffering, pride, hatred, and which abides in love—"He who abides in Jahve, abides in love"—the Jahve-Self, the true "I-Self" which alone is the object of your search.
¶ For let us say it again and again: those who seek anything other than their own Self, or who seek it anywhere else but in the shadow of those who have discovered it, do not know what they are looking for nor what they are expecting. I know what they are looking for: their own egoism and superstition. In their foolish thought they imagine that the I of their body is their Self. They do not know their Self, their Whence and Whither. Like someone stepping from the land into the sea, not in order to cross the sea and get to land, but to plunge into the sea and to drown in its watery depths, so they drown! This is superstitious egoism, namely, not to reflect on the Whence and Whither of the true Self, to have become absorbed, through lust for the world, into the world's I, as an individual unit in the many (whereby, to the extent that they withdraw from the Whole and the One, they suffer and make other individuals suffer). They are enslaved to the transitory, fixed in it, treading the path of no return into the abyss of the void. This is nothingness, even to their own consciousness: that, lacking the spirit, they believe the false words which come from the world's cup of delirium, words which bring them forfeit and delusion. As a result they only believe these words with reluctance, or believe that they believe; they cannot by any means live with them in certainty, in peace, freedom and joy. And yet, down all the thousands of years, they expend all their thought on the false egoism and superstition of the world. That is who their spokesmen are; not those who know that man is more than his brutal egoism, and that this "more" is something other than his utterly brutal, egoistic superstition. Their spokesmen are not those who have lived in certainty according to the true word of doctrine, proclaiming the name of the One (ומש םידחימה—הוהי is the דחוימה םש of the דחא)e26 and ready to be to them a womb for their rebirth to Selfhood. To these they do not listen, they cannot love them—woe to those who cannot love, who lack love's free surrender, love's passion for those who are great and true and whose words burn like torches and are fire—and they, the others, must be drawn into the fire too! For they are in need of the fire of these men of Truth, they need their mighty, awakening cry which springs from the love of the One, they need those born of the Spirit of the Father, those whose revelation brings rebirth—for no one knows the Father except the Son and he to whom the Son reveals it: "If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him. The word which you hear is not mine, but the Father's who sent me" (Jn. 14:23-24). "That they may all be one, even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee ... All thine are mine, and mine are thine, and I am glorified in them ... I have manifested thy name to the men thou gavest me out of the world. I have made known unto them thy name, and will make it known; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" Jn. 17:6-21ff.).
It is only every thousand years, or every couple of thousand years, that a single man is born whose heart is blessed, who does not complain, does not hesitate, does not question, is unabashed in the world, entirely truthful, built firmly and unshakably on himself. Such a man is able to bless his fellows with his love, indeed, he must bless them; even if it means that he has to lose his life on that account. He must bless them, because his love is the will which springs from his power and his very nature, the holy, merciful will of his own blessedness, which desires to bring bliss even to the wretched and the enemies of bliss—for they are the enemies of their own blessedness. We have Christ and Spinoza. If not these two men, there is no one in the world who can and does speak the Truth to men, completely and with love. With ardent love they act on our behalf and search for us with all their exalted strength, that we may return their love, that we may come to them and be one will with them in their creative and loving will, so that, through them, we may attain Truth in ever more elevated forms and in ever firmer certainty. Compared with these two, our salvation is a matter of indifference to all the others, be their poetry, painting and music never so highly-wrought and sublime; compared with them, all these wonderful artists are treacherous foes to us. And who could love one of them the way Christ and Spinoza are loved? Who has been genuinely redeemed by any of them?! Whereas Christ and Spinoza have really brought us back to unity and to the Self; they have truly delivered us from the whole brood of anxieties, sufferings and thoughts of hatred. Anyone who owes to one man the supreme state of a blessed existence and of peace in himself, through himself and from within himself; anyone who loves one person as the path, and as the wings speeding him whither he can rest with his love in freedom, such a one is also acquainted with the greatness of the human (fortunate is the man who knows both the depths and the heights of human nature); he is incapable of despising human kind and incapable of hating even a single human being. To earnest souls, those who are inwardly aroused and inflamed, desiring a holy, contemplative communion with their true Self, their true essence, to these genuine souls I say: Seek no longer; wait no longer for anyone to come—open your eyes, and find! Jahve Ehad—hear and see and be this Ehad else you are nothing in the blindness of being. There is no Being apart from this Ehad, we are no other being, we cannot will anything other than our own Self, we can be nothing other than what we are. Only if we think thus, in the Ehad, in the light, and love of the Ehad, in open-eyed Being, in the Cogitant, do we participate in Being: only thus do we have the right to say that we are genuinely alive, that we genuinely are. If we stay at the level of the mere ideatum we shall remain within ourselves in the egoistic isolation and indiscipline of slavery, dependent on the world of motion, on the world's being—which is not authentic Being at all—cramped within the relative, bodily 'I'. However, with the Cogitant, Jahve Ehad, we are the all-enlivening nucleus and the life-harmony of our whole environment; the life of the body is the 'I', the life of the "I" is the Ehad in the eternal Self, to which we actually awaken ourselves. If we have the Ehad, which embraces and pervades every instance of consciousness of the 'I', all feeling, knowing and willing, we are Spirit. And now, son of man, do you not think also that your bones can be revivified and inspirited by these thoughts, to attain to the eternal life of the Ehad? That you too will not remain as you are, but will become a different person in the world, able to say of yourself: Truly I live and am!? Everyone ought to gain a firm footing in the Ehad by means of this primal idea, ought to become a sanctuary of the Ehad in the world, ought to be absolute—to be! to be!! Not like those of the Non-Spirit who either believe or do not believe—everyone ought to be absolute even during this fleeting life, in this, the world's non-being. Then, even in the world, he will be different, not by his 'I' doing this or that differently; he will be born again in the 'I's' blindness, in the non-Self, into his light and Self, into his self-awareness, his conscious Selfhood; thus he will also act differently with his 'I' in the world, not as a result of "doing," but as a consequence of Being, of the Spirit, which transforms everything infinitely. Action will flow from the Spirit which modifies the 'I', giving it fresh and original personality, which is perceivable in you as the great Yes which causes you to tower to eternity above your 'I'. The Ehad is the advent of essentiality to your "I"; it cannot be let go; you must throw yourself entirely into this Ehad with your whole "I"; without this Ehad you can never say, I am 'I'! Surrender your 'I' and take the Ehad, that the Ehad may give you your "I", and that your "I" may be able to survive in this sudden reversal of motion; lest through the sensation of your 'I' you lose the love for your Self, which is your Self's love for your "I" and the One-in-All! Ehad, Ehad, in all that is done or what is not done, or is thought, from the smallest to the greatest, in speech and in silence, when you go, stand, sit, lie down, in joy and sorrow, suffering pain and wickedness, and when damned to the world's horrors: at all such times you know the secret of the world! Ehad! You shall say Ehad to your fellow-man as to yourself, whether he knows and shares the secret or is an outsider and knows it not; and you shall love—else you shall hate! And he who hates is of those who shed blood. Say Ehad, with love, to all the figures within the circle of infinity, for they all stand in the same relationship to the Primal ONE, they all abide within it. It is all the One, the One is yours and you love what is yours. And may your last breath utter Ehad, with love, to the angel of death; dying, may you know that the angel of death serves Jahve just as honourably as the angel of love -Jahve Tzevaot, Jahve of all the infinite powers! You are risen again to this life, and you will rise again to death, you who are mortal and yet eternal. There is no such thing as death: "as Jahve lives," death is only a superstitious notion on the part of our life. Even in what we human beings call death, you belong to the One, Being and Essence, just as you have belonged to it in this life. The ONE is, does not divide, cannot become other, cannot cease to be; acknowledge, therefore, the ancient, the new, the only, the crowning truth:
This German presents his account as a "simple, straightforward narrative, with no other purpose than the instruction of mankind"! Moreover, he "regards it as high time that the life of the most important man that the German people have produced should be dug out of the rubble of millennia." The chief burden of what he digs up is this: "About 6000 years ago the German people, in its first and greatest tribe, the tribe of the Low Germans, set out on its earthly life and destiny, in a clearing just below the present town of Rathenow on the Havel . . . Exultantly they saluted the sun and rejoiced in their life, guided as it were by an inner wisdom in their conduct, their language and their thought." And now here comes the Virgin, Freija! "Wuodan was descended from one of her daughters; Freija was his ancestral mother, and her daughter his grandmother. Thus his mother was the daughter of this daughter." "He was born hard by the Elbe." "The youth engaged in armed combat with the greatest enjoyment and enthusiasm, not for his own advantage but for the sake of his clan, his tribe. He was a very thoughtful person, quiet, very recollected and calm, yet, when deeds called, he threw himself into the fray with ardour and might." We need not multiply words: he became "the most important man of his people, the most important of all times and all peoples." Heroism is the highest quality in the world; this he instilled into the very flesh of his brothers, into their hearts and minds ..., and, turning to the women and maidens, he said: "A true woman gives the bliss of heart and sense to the Father of All!" "Later on he became conscious of something even more sublime: he perceived the ordering of the tribes of all the sons and daughters of the Father of All, from the highest to the lowest ... and saw that his people was the highest in the world, the greatest tribe of the children of the Father of All, and himself at their head for all eternity! More he saw not, for he awoke out of his visions!" First of all he was silent, "for he was thoroughly modest . . . indeed he was German through and through, he belonged to that people which has the highest moral strength"; ultimately he began to speak and "told of the Father of All, which was an immensely difficult undertaking for him"—perhaps, among other reasons, because "according to today's ideas he had no education ... .. And now what is the difference between Yeshua or Jesus Christ and Wuodan? The former was entirely a Greek by nature and being, the latter a true German, truly German in word and deed. The Germanic is the highest moral power, and hence the highest manly virtue of the whole earthly world; consequently Wuodan, as a human being, embodied the greatest earthly virility of the earthly world ... No Greek can ever attain to the authentic, fully-developed moral power of a German who is completely conscious of his national inheritance, to the fresh and vital virility of a man who is the genuine, earthly reflection of the Father of All!"
15Cf. in Spinoza gegen Kant: "Von Benedikt Spinozas seligem Leben," where I have endeavoured to portray this life according to its inner principle.
e2'Zum funundfunzigsten Geburtstag' in the August-September issue (1917) of Nord und Sud, reprinted in Kunst, Philosophie, Mystik, Zurich 1940.
e3"the Being"; being in mind; actual being.
e4The man who lacks understanding, the fool.
e5According to the ignorance of the critics.
e6Driven by divine inspiration and dictated by it.
e7 uneducated, common men.
e8(the witnesses say:) Yose struck (metaphor for 'slandered') Yose.
e9Paradise, from the Persian, in Hebrew pardes, actually means a pleasure garden or park. From the four following words (cf. translation above), Pshat, Remez, Drash, Sod, the rabbis thus formed the acrostic PaRDeS to signify the Torah as interpreted orally by them.
e10purely oral tradition.
e11For you have one teacher.
e12The proof of a statement (or fact) from the absurdity (or falsity) of its opposite.
e13A deduction leading to the absurd.
e14 historic truth
e15The more pure type of Christian doctrine; the pure type of the doctrine of Christ.
e16The Evangelists Matthew and John were capable of both lapses of memory and lying.
e17without a man's sperm.
e18"Generalizations conceal traps."
e19Cf. the section "Zeugnis" in Brunner's Der entlarvte Mensch, which appeared posthumously in 1951.
e20Intermingling of the two natures (the human and the divine) in Christ, cf. pp. 97-99).
e21Cf. Genesis 32:28
e22a rapture into heaven
e23For you have one teacher
e24The Docetists taught that Christ's body during his earthly life was only Illusory.
e25Nature in creation (the COGITANT).
e26"... they confess his Name to be One"—and "Jahve is the Name of the One, declared to be One" (from the synagogal prayerbook).
e27Read: Shema Yisrael,Jahve Ehad. Cf. p. 315-317 (Hear, 0 Israel, Being is One).