The Earliest Gospel by Frederick C. Grant
Frederick C. Grant was Edwin Robinson Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and President of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanstaon Ill. He was a member of the Revision Committee for the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Published by Abingdon Press, New York and Nashville, 1943. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.
Chapter 6: Jerusalem or Galilee?
Galiläa und Jerusalem," by Ernst Lohmeyer, is a study of the Jerusalemite and Galilean traditions of the resurrection. It grew out of the author’s work upon the Synoptic Gospels and appeared as a prolegomenon to his commentary on Mark, which was published a year later, in 1937. The study leads to a number of conclusions which are of cardinal importance for the interpretation of the Gospels, especially of Mark.(R.H. Lightfoot called the attention of English and American students to this work in his Locality and Doctrine in the Gospels (1938), chiefly to its contribution toward solving his problem of the conclusion of Mark.)
Its main thesis is that there were two main centers of primitive Christianity in Palestine, one in Jerusalem, the other in Galilee. This is, of course, very different from the ordinary view, according to which there was no early church in Galilee: Jesus’ work there came to naught, and the Twelve -- or rather, the Eleven -- removed from Galilee to Jerusalem either soon before or soon after the day of Pentecost. The late Professor Burkitt, in his little book Christian Beginning: (1924), advocated this view in all seriousness, improbable as it seems upon a further reconsideration of the evidence and especially in the light of Professor Lohmeyer’s interpretation. It is not at all probable that Jesus’ work in Galilee left no trace behind, especially if, as some of us hold, his following was much greater than even the Gospels assume.(A point which I have attempted to argue in The Gospel of the Kingdom ) Their interests are very largely centered upon the apostles, but at the same time the surviving tradition within them makes it clear that Jesus’ influence upon the populace of Galilee resulted in "multitudes" following him about and hanging upon his words.
It is true that Galilee is omitted in the list of stages in the expanding mission field of the early church set forth in Acts 1:8; but this is to be explained, according to Professor Lohmeyer, by the hypothesis that Galilee was already terra Christiana, as the result of the work of Jesus himself. On the other hand, Mark 16:7, "He goeth before you into Galilee," presupposes that Galilee, not Jerusalem, was to be the center of the messianic Kingdom, the location of the Parousia of the Son of Man. It would seem that Jerusalem was the center of expectation in the more or less nationalistic messianic hope which Luke takes for granted; and it is certainly obvious that Luke assumes that primitive Christianity set out from Jerusalem upon its career of world expansion -- his second volume might be entitled, "From Jerusalem to Rome." But the "Son of Man" eschatology, as distinguished from that which centered in the conception of the "Messiah," was a northern product, as we may gather from the books of Enoch.(See Chaim Kaplan, "Angels in the Book of Enoch," Anglican Theological Review, 12 (1930): 423-37; "The Pharisaic Character and the Date of the Book of Enoch," ibid., 12:531-37. Even Daniel may have been north. em; see G. A. Barton, "Daniel, Pre-Israelite Hero of Galilee," Journal of Biblical Literature, 60:213-25.) It was non-nationalistic and universal, transcendental rather than political. And it presupposed, in its Christian form, no particular ecclesiastical theory, as did the Christology of Luke. Finally, Galilee -- or Deccapolis -- was the home of Jesus’ family after the destruction of Jerusalem; and accordingly, so Lohmeyer assumes, his brethren carried on missionary work there for some time, although later on we find James residing in Jerusalem and presiding over the church in Judea.
This is a very interesting thesis and deserves careful consideration. Some problems, of course, still stand in the way. For one thing, if Galilee was terra Christiana, how are we to account for the woes upon the Galilean towns which we find in Q? And is o unquestionably used by Mark in the sense of "precede" rather than "lead"?(Mark 14:28; 16:7; see Johannes Weiss’s commentary on 14:28 in ed. 8 of Meyer (1892); also his History of Primitive Christianity, I, 14 ff.) Furthermore, in view of Luke’s geographical terminology in both the Gospel and Acts, is it so certain that Galilee is not included in Acts 1:8? He sometimes uses "Judea" for the whole Jewish-populated territory of Palestine.(E.g., Luke 6:17; 7:17; 23:5.) "All Judea and Samaria" probably means "all Palestine, both Jewish and non-Jewish territory."
In view of the scarcity of the historical evidence, it is surely legitimate to indulge in hypothetical reconstruction of the provenance of the tradition, even though much of the hypothesis, brilliant and attractively presented as it is, remains a matter of speculation -- that is, it is an interpretation of the surviving evidence rather than a discovery of further evidence. It does help us to see how the tradition continued to circulate -- and to grow -- in the period between the Crucifixion and the composition of the Gospel of Mark. It may be well, then, to attempt to sum up the chief contributions which Lohmeyer’s little book throws upon our study of the tradition.
The book begins with a clear recognition of the difference between the resurrection narratives in Luke 24 and John 20 on the one hand and those in Matthew 28, John 21, and what must be presupposed as the tradition underlying Mark on the other hand. These divergent traditions no doubt point back to different localities of origin and transmission. Johannes Weiss dismissed the Galilean tradition as an old error of Mark, but this solution is inadequate. It does not account for the existence of traditions which point specifically in the direction of Galilee. Mediating views, which maintain that Peter saw the Lord in Galilee but immediately returned to Jerusalem, likewise fail to recognize the possibility of a Galilean tradition. It is much more likely, Lohmeyer maintains, that the Galilean community looked upon itself as the future center of the Kingdom of God. Galilee, rather than Jerusalem, was the land of revelation and of promise. Jesus’ words to the disciples in Mark 14:28 and 16:7 presuppose that the Parousia will take place in Galilee and, presumably, that it will be the dawning point of the New Age.(This holds true even if, as some believe, these two verses are glosses upon Mark or late additions to the pre-Marcan tradition. Their point of view certainly centers in Galilee. See my "Studies in the Text of St. Mark," Anglican Theological Review, 20:103 ff.) The same presupposition seems to underlie -- but more remotely -- the accounts of the Resurrection in Matthew and in John 21.
Accordingly, the Galilean appearances are to be distinguished from those in Jerusalem not simply by external circumstances of time or place or persons concerned ;(P. 23.) instead, entirely divergent theological developments of primitive Christianity are involved. No Galilean narrative undertakes to prove the actuality or the scriptural authority of the Resurrection. Indeed, Matthew even notes that "some still doubted."(Matt. 28:17.) It was the evangelist Mark who preserved in purest form the expectation that the Parousia was to take place in Galilee, and he did not water down this expectation by a description of actual appearances of Jesus. On the other hand, the Lucan narrative undertakes to prove that all this was in accordance with the scripture, including the prediction that Christ would rise on the third day, and it is concerned with the spread of this message among all peoples.(Luke 24:25-27, 44-49.) Lohmeyer sets forth this distinction in epigrammatic style: The Galilean story presupposes the doctrine Kyrios Jêsous, Jesus is Lord; the Jerusalemite presupposes the other, Christos Jêsous, Jesus is Christ.
He now goes back and discusses the relation between Galilee and Jerusalem in the ministry of Jesus. Galilee had become a Jewish territory once more, by the lifetime of Jesus; and although it still had a large gentile population, the dominant element in the population was a type of Jews who in their origin and in their religious outlook had strong affiliations with Jerusalem. In spite of certain scornful references to Galilee and Galileans, even within the New Testament, there are traces of a higher estimation. Shammai was a Galilean, and taught there; his rigorous views of marriage and those of Jesus are fairly similar. So also the repeated messianic outbursts in Galilee, culminating with Bar-Kochba in AD. 132, clearly point toward a genuinely Jewish religious loyalty on the part of the leading element in the population of Galilee.(See The Gospel of the Kingdom, chap. v, The Background of Jesus’ Message.")
Mark names Galilee a dozen times, and it is clear that he assumes Jesus made Capernaum his headquarters, the center of his ministry about the shores of the Galilean lake. This ministry, far from being a failure -- as Maurice Goguel(The Life of Jesus , chap. xiii, "The Crisis on Galilee.") and other writers on the life of Christ have assumed -- was a great success. The account of Peter’s denial almost assumes it as self-evident that to be a Galilean and to be a follower of Jesus were identical.(Mark 14:70.) I think this is pressing the words too far -- but the idea may have been somewhere in the back of Mark’s mind. Further, according to Mark, Jesus goes to Jerusalem not to carry on a ministry there but only to die; Galilee is the scene of the beginning and the middle of his career, Jerusalem only of its end. Galilee is accordingly the "holy land" of the Gospel, the anticipated scene of the final eschatological fulfillment. This theory -- for theory it is, and it ignores some facts that even Mark relates, for example, that Jesus has friends in Bethany -- this theory really controls Mark’s narrative. The whole story of the ministry, as presented by Mark, begins with the announcement of the coming salvation in Galilee: here the eschatological gospel was to have its fulfillment, its final realization. It was in Galilee that Jesus undertook to gather together the outcasts of Israel, the lost sheep, and reunite the nation once more under its true King, as the "eschatological community." Here the Twelve were to be the heads of the New Israel. And the expectation still held good, even after Jesus’ death: if as a matter of fact it had not been realized during Jesus’ lifetime, and he had left Galilee to go to Jerusalem and die, this had only postponed the day of triumph, the final consummation; presently he would return, and the Parousia would take place in Galilee. This was the outlook of the primitive Galilean community, and it is reflected in its tradition; the later view, which centers in Jerusalem, or even in a world-wide manifestation of Christ in glory, is the result of later reflection and editorial revision. The oldest tradition bears the stamp of Galilee -- and Galilee is the anticipated center of the Kingdom of God upon earth.
All this throws light upon the Marcan presentation of the life of Jesus. The apostles are not chosen in Jerusalem -- they have nothing to do with the capital city, now in the hands of the Romans. The Transfiguration, the preliminary appearance or epiphany of the Son of Man in glory, takes place not in Jerusalem -- contrast Malachi 3:1 and other prophecies -- but in a secret mountain fastness in the remote north, in Galilee, a land despised by men but graciously favored and chosen by God. It is true that Mark recognizes the existence of opposition to Jesus in Galilee but this is only because Mark is faithful to the tradition, in spite of his theory; and he notes that the opposition was inspired by "the scribes who came down from Jerusalem." (Mark 3:22.) The real center of opposition to Jesus is in Jerusalem, not Galilee -- and this, we may grant, is probably not only Mark’s theory, or Lohmeyer’s theory about Mark’s theory, but the historical actuality. If Jesus had been content to remain in Galilee he might never have gone to the cross. Why he went to Jerusalem belongs to the "superhistorical" motivation of the story. It is part of the divine plan: the Son of Man must suffer . . . . at Jerusalem, the city of sin and of death.(The same view reappears in the Apocalypse of John -- Rev. 11:8.) This is the point of the three mysterious passion announcements, (Mark 8:31; 10:32-34.) and of the secrecy of his movements after Caesarea Philippi. The preliminary vision, the foretaste of glory, has established the certainty of the future realization of his divine rule,(Mark 9:1.) What follows now is the divinely decreed process -- . . . . -- by which Jesus "dies and enters into his glory." That it was necessary is clear from the history: certainly (a) it took place, and certainly (b) it would not have taken place unless God had willed it; but (c) why it took place was as deep a mystery to Mark as it was to Paul or as it is to us. Somehow it was related to the ransoming of "the many"(Mark 3:22) -- that is as far as Mark goes toward a doctrine of atonement.(Cf. Mark 14:24.) Some scholars have seen in Mark the pattern of a Greek tragedy, and indeed with some probability.(See Ernest W. Burch, "Tragic Action in the Second Gospel," Journal of Religion, 11:346-58; Walter E. Bundy, "Dogma and Drama in the Gospel of Mark," New Testament Studies, ed. E. P. Booth ; also, Henry Beach Carré, "The Literary Structure of the Gospel of Mark," Studies in Early Christianity, ed. S. J. Case .) In that pattern, the course of the action from Caesarea to the still-anticipated Parousia leads on steadily to the grand katastrophê, resulting in the divine peripéteia :(On these terms, see Aristotle, Poetics 1452A, 1454B.) the Resurrection is an episode indispensable to the total action, but still an episode. For the Resurrection is the beginning of the great reversal, not the whole of it. That episode takes place at Jerusalem; but Galilee is still the scene of the main action, both past and future, for it is the place chosen by God for his own "eschatological work" and for the beginning and the center of the proclamation of the gospel.(P. 34.)
This Marcan scheme obviously rests upon a theological idea; and it is not strange if later Gospels, resting upon quite other theological convictions, have done violence to Mark, often without realizing it. And this conviction of Mark’s is also, obviously, connected with the idea of the Son of Man. Mark assumes that "the Son of Man" was the secret title which covered and hid within its shadowy folds the other name by which Christian faith more clearly expressed itself, namely "the Son of God."(P. 35.) In the other Gospels, this distinction is no longer maintained -- nor is the location of Jesus’ "manifestation of his glory." John specifically located this in Galilee, at Cana ;(John 2:11) but there is no attempt to limit the manifestation to the Transfiguration, as we might expect -- indeed Mark does not do so -- nor is it limited to Galilee: Jesus performs miracles repeatedly in Jerusalem and elsewhere outside Galilee.(Although Mark has only two miracles in Judea the healing of Bartimeus at Jericho (10:46-52) and the cursing of the figtree at Bethany (11:12-14,20) -- and none in Jerusalem.) Nevertheless, it is in one of the other Gospels, Matthew, that we find a clue to the basis of the eschatological estimate of Galilee -- the passage quoted from the Book of Isaiah:
Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali . . . .
The people that walked in darkness
This was the main text, so to speak, of Galilean eschatology, a prophecy of the cleansing of the territory from heathen defilement, and of the beginning of the New Age -- one thinks of a modern and somewhat remote parallel, the Bahaist "Dawning Point of the Praises of God." Here in Galilee the Sun of Righteousness is to dawn, "with healing in his wings." Here the Son of Man is to appear, "the dayspring from on high," the celestial judge and ruler of the world who was -- and is -- also a man among men, the holy among sinners, the sinless among the sinful, the light in the midst of darkness.(Cf. Matt. 28:18; 25:31-46.) The theology underlying Mark’s presentation is clearer from Matthew than it is from Mark, because Matthew uses the Old Testament far more; but the presentation of the Galilean theory is clearer from Mark, for he stands closer to the primitive stream of tradition than does Matthew. At the same time Matthew has combined the Kyrios conception with that of the Son of Man -- the title "Kyrios" is the one which later came to express openly all that the other had held back as a secret.(P.38.) But it is clear that Matthew at the same time preserves in full strength the conception of the Galilean location of the expected Parousia, though now the delay is occasioned not only by the episode of Jesus’ death at Jerusalem but also by the whole Gentile mission.(Matt. 28:19-20; cf. Mark 13:10.)
It is evident that John and Luke have each a totally different view of the course of Jesus’ ministry from that of Mark -- even though almost the whole of Mark is incorporated, under modification, in the Gospel of Luke. The real center of Jesus’ ministry in Luke is "Judea," that is, the Jewish-populated part of Palestine, without too much attention to geographical distinctions between Galilee, Samaria, and Judea proper. In John it is notorious that Judea, indeed Jerusalem, is Jesus’ headquarters, as Capernaum is in Mark. Indeed, one passage almost says that Judea -- or perhaps Samaria ? -- was Jesus’ native land: "After two days he went forth . . . . into Galilee. For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country." (John 4: 43-44.) Here, in John and in Luke, we see the triumph of the age-old, inherited conception of the Jewish Messiah who must complete his work in Jerusalem, in utter disregard of the Galilean tradition which centered not only his ministry but also his coming Parousia in Galilee.
Thus emerged two different outlines of the life of Jesus, equally significant in their results upon the narration of the incidents of his biography and for the general theological presuppositions. They are most clearly recognizable in the Gospels of Mark and Luke. In Mark, Galilee is the main scene of Jesus’ activity; only here does he exorcise demons, which was his chief eschatological work; only here does he deliver an extended discourse to the people (chap. 4). And this situation is not only a historical fact but also a theological -- or, more accurately, an eschatological -- postulate: it rests upon the thought of Jesus as the Son of Man.(P. 45.)
As he is both the hidden and the revealed Son of Man, so likewise the eschatological significance of Galilee is both hidden and revealed. And as in the future he will be revealed "in power and glory" as the Son of Man, so also will Galilee be revealed as the land of eschatological fulfillment. That is the whole point of the saying: "He goes before you [that is, precedes you] into Galilee; there will you see him," as the manifested Lord and Judge. Matthew takes this concept and gives it an Old Testament basis, but he adds certain features to the Appearance in Galilee which are derived from the expectation of the Last Day. John acknowledges the significance of Galilee as a fact in the story of the Son of Man, but adds another feature, secret and sacred, the institution of the Supper,(John 6.) though his peculiar mode of presentation often obscures the significance of the topography. He also makes the shore of the Galilean lake the scene of Peter’s installation as "shepherd of Christ’s sheep" (John 21.) -- though the primitive conception of Jesus as the Son of Man is greatly weakened in John, since another conception, and title, take its place. Luke tells the story in such a way as to make the whole of Palestine the locale of Jesus’ ministry: as in Acts 10:37, the scene is "all Judea." (Cf. Luke 23-5.) Galilee is for Luke only the opening scene; the full development and climax of Jesus’ ministry is at Jerusalem, where also the resurrection appearances all take place. "And this biographical datum rests upon the eschatological conviction that Jesus is the lawful King of Israel, the restorer of the throne of his father David, the redeemer of Israel."(Pp. 45-46.)
It is this difference in theological outlook, according to Lohmeyer, which explains the alternation of Galilee and Jerusalem as the scene of the appearances of Jesus after his resurrection; and the probability is now enhanced and supported by his study of the traditions relating to the two centers in the apostolic church.(Chap. 4.) The Book of Acts naturally follows the Lucan scheme and carries out its underlying conviction: Jesus is the Christ, the Anointed, the true King of Israel; and the founding of the church, the spread of the gospel, the mission of the apostles must all take place in and start from the nation’s capital -- not from Galilee. Everyone recognizes that this ecclesiastical theory is dominant in Luke-Acts ;(See esp. Henry J. Cadbury, The Making of Luke-Acts , and Burton S. Easton, The Purpose of Acts ) no one heretofore has pointed out, as clearly as Lohmeyer does, how this theory ignores facts which even Luke himself has to admit -- the presence of disciples like Ananias in Damascus and the "old disciples" in Galilee.(Acts 9:10, 19b, 25; 21:4, 7, 8, 16,) Still further evidence is found in the traditions of the relatives of Jesus, the Despósynoi, recounted chiefly by Eusebius -- from Hegesippus, a second-century Palestinian, and from Julius Africanus, who lived in Palestine in the third century. Indeed, the fluctuating designation of the "Apostles," "the Twelve," "the Brethren of the Lord" may very likely go back to an interchange in leadership between Jerusalem and Galilee during the opening decades in the history of the new faith. And a later designation of the Christians as "Nazoraeans" (So Jerome on the fifth century -- see Guthe in PRE3, XIII, 677.) probably points back to a Galilean usage in the first century: the later term still points to the "Nazarenes" as the originators of the sect -- not as "from Nazareth," but as observers of the Nazirite vow as a duty, not merely as a work of merit.(P. 64.) Along with this went the term "Ebionim" -- not a later sect, but a name for the primitive Galilean Christians, who made poverty (ebionim means "the poor") a Christian duty.(See also the Epistle of James, and the reflection of this view, under modification, in the Book of Acts.) Jesus was still looked upon as the Son of Man, as the legend of the martyrdom of James makes clear. When asked by his persecutors, "What is the gate of Jesus ?" he replied, "Why do you ask me about the Son of Man? He sits in heaven at the right hand of the Power on high, and is to come on the clouds of heaven." (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. 3. 23. 8-18.) Jesus is still the hidden Son of Man, as in Enoch,(En. 46:2-48:10.) and his Parousia will reveal him to the world in his true supernatural dignity and worth.
Thus a common Christology underlies all these fragments of old tradition regarding the martyr James, the Nazoraeans, and the descendants of the family of Jesus. . . . . Jesus is the eschatological Teacher, who upon the foundation of the sacred Jewish Law but with special commandments (relating to poverty and obedience) and with divine power leads his followers to the gates of the Kingdom of God; he is now exalted at the right hand of God, and is soon to come on the clouds of heaven" as the judge of all mankind.(P. 74.)
It is this Christology, with no reference to the Holy Spirit, and no outlook of world mission (though not opposed to the world mission), which lies behind the Galilean tradition -- very different from the richer and more colorful tradition of Jerusalem which Luke enshrined, with its emphasis upon Jesus’ Messiahship (as King of Israel), upon the Spirit, and upon the world mission of the church. The one is centered in the conviction that Jesus is Son of Man and Lord (Kyrios); the other in the conviction that he is the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel -- and of the world.
On the basis of this hypothesis it is easy to see how the evangelic tradition received the form and emphasis it possesses in the Gospels. Instead of one uniform tradition, all from one point of view, there are different points of view and different resulting emphases. There is not one, and only one, "Christology of the Synoptic Gospels"; there are at least two-possibly three or four Christologies. And they reflect the convictions of those who handed down the tradition, in different localities -- certainly in two, Jerusalem and Galilee, probably in three or four, if we include Caesarea and Antioch, possibly in many more. The conclusion is inescapable that there was in general a twofold origin of the church, with two centers in Palestine from the lifetime of Jesus down at least to the war under Hadrian, in Galilee, and down to the war under Nero and later, in Judea -- and then on into the following centuries, when successive conquest and exodus scattered the little Christian communities far and wide, down to the Mohammedan conquest in the seventh century, and even to this day. There are Galilean Christians today who at least claim to be descended from early bishops, saints, and martyrs.
As we shall see, this hypothesis of Lohmeyer’s not only enables him to write the most penetrating of commentaries on the Gospel of Mark; it also enables us to reconstruct -- in further hypothesis of course, since hypothesis is all we can hope to achieve in this area -- to reconstruct one or two of the stages through which the gospel tradition passed before it reached Mark, the writer of the earliest account of what Jesus said and did.
The main result of Professor Lohmeyer’s investigation is to establish the probability that early Christian communities were found in Galilee, taking Galilee in the wide sense as extending east of the Jordan, north to include Mount Hermon, and northeast to include Damascus. "Of the early history of Christianity in this district we know little enough, but its existence is assured, from the period of the earliest proclamation of the gospel to the beginning of the second century; of its wide extent and strength we have the testimony of Origen in the third century, of Epiphanius in the fourth, and of Jerome in the fifth.(Ibid.) It was Jerome who copied "the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew" at Aleppo and wrote to Augustine that "to this day throughout all the Jewish synagogues of the east is spread that heresy which they generally call the Nazoraean. (Ep. 112. 13.) These Christian communities go back for their origin to the ministry of the Lord himself and his apostles and brethren, though the traditions of the apostles and brethren are very fragmentary. That there were martyrs among them seems clear from Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius.(Eccl. Hist. 3. 32. 6.) Their missionary efforts in neighboring regions were not without success, though Galilee remained the center of this northern propaganda-only so can we explain the flight of the Jerusalem Christians thither shortly before the siege of the city in the year 68. Jerusalem was accordingly the second, not the first, center of the primitive church. As represented in Matthew -- not in Luke -- the great commission to evangelize the nations is delivered in Galilee, not in Jerusalem. Significantly, this legend was written down at a time when Jerusalem had in fact long been the actual center of Jewish Christianity.(P. 81.) How and when the transfer to Jerusalem took place we do not know; but it is clear that contact with Galilee was still maintained when the Gospel of Matthew was compiled. This inference, according to Lohmeyer, is further supported by the position of James, the Lord’s brother, in the Jerusalem community. It was because he came from Galilee, and was Jesus’ blood relation, that he was made head of the "apostles and elder brethren" at the capital.(See Acts 15.) These apostles were not missionaries, in Judea, but leaders of the Jerusalem church ;(Cf. Acts 8:1) the actual mission was conducted by their emissaries; and probably James came to the city at the time Peter and John first left it and went to Samaria, during the persecution that followed the martyrdom of Stephen. This was the very time when Saul was engaged in carrying the persecution farther afield, to the very headquarters of the new sect in the north and as far away as Damascus.(See H. E. Dana, "Where Did Paul Persecute the Church?" Anglican Theological Review, 20:16-26.) James came to Jerusalem, then, as the representative of Galilean faith and piety; and it is James’ views, not Peter’s, that are authoritative and decisive at the Jerusalem council.(Acts 15.) Here we have a phenomenon not without parallel in the history of other religions, as Lohmeyer notes -- for example in Islam and in Mormonism -- namely a shift from a first center to a second within the first generation of believers; and it is all the more striking that the evidence is preserved in Acts, whose whole interest and orientation centers in Jerusalem, not in Galilee, and whose earliest traditions are almost exclusively those of the capital city. That there was a theological difference between Galilee and Jerusalem is, I believe, most probable. Jesus had arisen among the circle of "the poor," and it was among these Galilean anawim that his message had taken deepest root. The Galileans were loyal Jews, that is, loyal to the Torah -- though the Talmudic evidence which Lohmeyer cites may refer mainly to conditions in the second century, after the Pharisaic schools had removed from the south and relocated here. At least there were no "Hellenists" in Galilee, that wing of the early Jerusalem church which the Book of Acts may be interpreted to imply as the origin of what later became world-wide Gentile Christianity. There were certain characteristic emphases in Galilean Christianity, Lohmeyer maintains. One was the form of the Decalogue which substituted "Thou shalt not defraud" for "Thou shalt not covet -- a formulation which Jesus himself apparently shared.(Mark 10:19.) Another was the requirement of poverty, since only the poor are pleasing to God.(Mark 10:21, 23-31.) Still another feature of Galilean Christianity was the expectation of a heavenly figure at the end of days, not the national Messiah but a figure patterned upon Daniel’s vision of "one like a son of man" coming on the clouds of heaven. And it is characteristic that whenever the apocalyptic expectation is centered in the "Son of Man," there the poverty ethic is also emphasized -- as we may see from the Book of Enoch. These elements are clearly present in Galilean Christianity from the beginning, and they survived long after, in the doctrines of the Ebionites. There was also far less emphasis -- to say the least -- upon the sacrificial cult than was to be found in Judean Christianity.
Now these characteristic theological emphases were of great importance for the preservation and formulation of the gospel tradition, even prior to its incorporation in the earliest written Gospel, that of Mark, The whole conception of Jesus’ earthly ministry is influenced by them: "Jesus is the Savior, but only as combining in himself the office of a Jewish teacher and that of the hidden Son of Man, by virtue of which twofold office he is able by word and deed to bring men to the ‘gate’ of the Kingdom of God. He is the Savior, who holds to the sacred Law but also adds the further requirements -- which lead to ‘life’ -- of voluntary poverty and obedience to himself." (P. 85.) These features characterize not only the later Nazoraean belief and practice, but also the earliest traditions preserved in the Gospel of Mark -- for example the words to the rich man, and the narrative of the Transfiguration. And the apocalyptic outlook, centering in the coming Parousia of the Son of Man in Galilee when that land will become fully and forever the land of promise, the center of the New Age, is likewise reflected in Mark, especially in the two verses 14:28 and 16:7. Jesus has already appeared in Galilee, as the hidden or secret Son of Man; his divine deeds and words are related in the traditions which the earliest preachers of the gospel used, and yet he remained unrecognized save by two or three intimate disciples; but he will come again in glory, fully revealed as the transcendent figure of the Danielic-Enochic hope, as "the Son of Man from heaven." Mark’s theory of the messianic secret was therefore only a dogmatic formulation of something which was basic to the whole of the earliest evangelic tradition.(P. 87.) One might almost, Lohmeyer suggests, venture to reconstruct the Galilean theology -- or, rather, the primitive Galilean piety -- from the pieces of tradition which Mark records; though not every "Son of Man" saying in the Gospel is primitive, and in its present form the conception has been influenced by the later identification of the Son of Man with the Suffering Servant figure depicted in Second Isaiah.(See The Gospel of the Kingdom, pp. 157 ff.) The Nazoraean theology -- or piety -- was of course only one among several streams of tendency and tradition in the early church. Such later developments and interpretations of the primitive belief and practice as we find in Luke, in Paul, in John -- these followed in due course, and partly as the result of the transfer of leadership to Jerusalem; in particular the emphasis upon the idea of Jesus’ Messiahship, as the future Anointed King of Israel, was characteristic of the Jerusalem outlook. The older, more primitive identification of him with the celestial Son of Man had sufficed in Galilee.(P. 94.) It is clear that the Messiah idea is secondary; it is really supported and maintained by the underlying conviction that Jesus is the heavenly Son of Man. Its importance for later Christian thought is obvious -- but in its origin it is not so primitive as the Galilean faith.
Where, then, did the earliest resurrection appearances take place, in Galilee or in Jerusalem? To that first and also final question Lohmeyer can find no answer. We do not even know where the appearance to Peter took place, the first one in the earliest list.(I Cor. 15:5-8.) Nor is it unlikely that, in the communication back and forth between the two localities during the earliest days, appearances took place in various localities. From the theological point of view, I can see no reason why the appearances should be limited to one place or even to one time. Certainly Paul assumes that his own vision of the Risen Lord was completely on a par with those that preceded.(I Cor. 15: 5-8) What is remarkable -- and Lohmeyer has made this abundantly clear -- is that the appearances were interpreted differently by various groups, and in the traditions of different localities and persons, chiefly in Galilee and in Jerusalem. Each interpretation presupposed a particular pattern of eschatological outlook; and it is clear that the earliest Christology was really, as the term suggests, an eschatology, in which the central figure was the same -- the risen, glorified Christ who had lived and talked and done mighty works in Galilee but had died on a cross outside Jerusalem, who was now at the right hand of God, and was soon to come in glory to inaugurate the New Age. Whatever we may think of some of the details in Lohmeyer’s argument, his investigation has thrown a flood of light upon the earliest gospel tradition; and his book will remain one of the most important ever written upon this subject.