The author of ‘Supernatural Religion,’ apparently following Hilgenfeld [Endnote 252:2], adopts the other translation, and bases on it an argument that the allusion is to the martyrdom of Zacharias, and therefore not to our third Gospel in which no mention of that martyrdom is contained. On the other hand, we are reminded that the narrative of the martyrdom of Zacharias enters into the Protevangelium of James. That apocryphal Gospel however contains nothing approaching to the words which coincide exactly with the text of St. Luke.
Even if there had been a greater doubt than there is as to the application of [Greek: marturia], it would be difficult to resist the conclusion that the Synoptic Gospel is being quoted. The words occur in the most peculiar and distinctive portion of the Gospel; and the correspondence is so exact and the phrase itself so striking as not to admit of any other source. The order, the choice of words, the construction, even to the use of the nominative [Greek: amemptos] where we might very well have had the adverb [Greek: amemptos], all point the same way. These fine edges of the quotation, so to speak, must needs have been rubbed off in the course of transmission through several documents. But there is not a trace of any other document that contained such a remark upon the character of Zacharias.
This instance of a Synoptic quotation may, I think, safely be depended upon.
Another allusion, a little lower down in the Epistle, which speaks of the same Vettius Epagathus as ’having in himself the Paraclete [there is a play on the use of the word [Greek: paraklaetos] just before], the Spirit, more abundantly than Zacharias,’ though in exaggerated and bad taste, probably has reference to Luke i. 67, ‘And Zacharias his father was filled with the Holy Ghost,’ &c.
[Footnote: Mr. Mason calls my attention to [Greek: enduma numphikon] in Sec. 13, and also to the misleading statement in S.R. ii. p. 201 that ’no writing of the New Testament is directly referred to.’ I should perhaps have more fault to find with the sentence on p. 204, ’It follows clearly and few venture to doubt,’ &c. I have assumed however for some time that the reader will be on his guard against expressions such as these.]
PTOLEMAEUS AND HERACLEON—CELSUS—THE MURATORIAN FRAGMENT.
We are now very near emerging into open daylight; but there are three items in the evidence which lie upon the border of the debateable ground, and as questions have been raised about these it may be well for us to discuss them.
We have already had occasion to speak of the two Gnostics Ptolemaeus and Heracleon. It is necessary, in the first place, to define the date of their evidence with greater precision, and, in the second, to consider its bearing.