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Introductory Note

A About one-third of the present volume has already seen -^*- the light. The opening essay ' On the Internal Evidence for the Authenticity and Genuineness of St John's Gospel' was published in the 'Expositor' in the early months of 1890, and has been reprinted since; the essay 'On the Mission of Titus to the Corinthians' appeared in the 'Journal of Sacred and Classical Philology' nearly thirty years ago, while the ninth essay ' On the Structure and Destination of the Epistle to the Romans' consists of three famous articles contributed within the years 1869 and 1871 to the 'Journal of Philology,' two by Dr Lightfoot and one by Dr Hort. Beginning with a criticism of M. Renan's theory that our present Epistle to the Romans represents no less than four letters addressed to different Churches, Dr Lightfoot proceeded to formulate a countertheory of an original letter (our complete Epistle) addressed to the Church of Rome, and a shorter recension of a more general character reissued by the Apostle at a later period and intended for a wider circle of readers. This theory did not commend itself to Dr Hort, and his criticism of Dr Lightfoot's arguments and Dr Lightfoot's reply, which form the second and third of the articles in question, are published herewith, while for a restatement of Dr Hort's view the reader is referred to the 'Notes on Selected Readings' which form an appendix to the Introduction to the edition of the New Testament edited by Drs Westcott and Hort1. A singular pathos attaches to the republication of these articles in the thought that he who so recently gave his consent to their insertion in this volume, and whose counsel was so reverently listened to by his co-trustees, has been called to his rest, before the volume has passed into circulation.

And the pathos of the situation is only increased as we turn to the main part of the volume, to that which appears in print for the first time. When in 1879 Dr Lightfoot was called away from Cambridge to undertake the Bishopric of Durham, apprehension was felt and expressed in many quarters that the continual claims of diocesan engagements would seriously impair his literary productiveness. How heroically he struggled to belie this anticipation is well known. But the marvellous steadfastness of purpose with which he devoted to literary work every available moment which could be snatched from official duties can be fully appreciated by those only who had the privilege of watching the great bishop's life from day to day. By sheer strength of will he completed the five massive volumes on the Apostolic Fathers. But the issue of commentaries on St Paul's Epistles was checked absolutely. From time to time rumours were circulated that some particular commentary was in progress, nay more, in type and within a measurable distance of publication; but alas! these surmises were entirely devoid of foundation. The Bishop was heard more than once to declare that, his edition of the Apostolic Fathers finished, he hoped with what leisure he could secure in two years to be able to bring out a commentary upon any one of the Pauline Epistles on which he had lectured when at Cambridge.

1 The New Testament in Oie original Greek (1881), vol. 2, Appendix, pp. 100 sq.

But the necessary relief from pressure never came, and after his death it was found, as had been anticipated by those who knew his methods, that the notes on the New Testament had remained untouched since the day when he left Cambridge for Auckland Castle. There were moreover sad gaps in the commentaries and in the introductory matter, sketches of work which had never been filled in, and jottings which needed the master-mind of the writer to interpret them adequately. In accordance therefore with a report furnished to the Trustees by Dr Hort, it was decided to abandon all attempts to bring out a complete edition of any epistle on the lines of the published commentaries, and instead to gather into one volume such of the prolegomena as it was possible to publish, reserving for another volume selections from commentaries on the text which appeared to be fullest and most valuable. The present volume of 'Biblical Essays' represents the first of these undertakings. The contents can easily be assigned to the places which they would have occupied had the Bishop been able to complete his projected series of commentaries on all the Pauline Epistles. The second and third essays on St John's Gospel form part of a subject which, as he tells us himself, he considered to have 'passed into other and better hands,' and they would probably never have been published by Dr Lightfoot himself. The next four essays were intended to appear as excursuses in the Commentary on the Thessalonians; the three which follow would have supplied material for introductions to the Epistles to the Corinthians, Romans and Ephesians respectively, while the last two would have found a place in an edition of the Pastoral Epistles.

To edit the writings of one who is no longer at hand to explain and to correct must always present grave difficulties; but when the material to be edited is to appear as the work of a scholar of the widest reputation for learning and accuracy, to venture upon the task is little short of presumption. In the present instance the difficulty is enhanced by Dr Lightfoot's method of work, to which the present Bishop of Durham draws attention in his prefatory note to the posthumous edition of St Clement of Rome. Possessed of a remarkably retentive memory, he preferred to trust to outlines, rather than write out in full what he intended to deliver in the lecture-room. Accordingly, in those essays which are described as printed from lecture-notes, it has been found necessary to frame into sentences page after page which, in the original notes, exists only in the briefest summary. It is inevitable therefore, that in places the Bishop's meaning will have been obscurely expressed, if not entirely missed. That this inadequacy of treatment is not more glaring is due to the kindness of those who, in response to the appeal of the Trustees, have placed their notes of Dr Lightfoot's professorial lectures at the disposal of the editor. The cordial thanks of the Trustees are tendered to the Rev. G. F. Browne, Canon of St Paul's, to W. P. Turnbull, Esq., formerly Fellow of Trinity College and now one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools, to the Rev. H. F. Gore-Booth, Rector of Sacred Trinity, Salford, for the loan of their valuable notes; and to the Rev. W. E. Barnes, Fellow and Lecturer of St Peter's College, for kind assistance in looking over the proof-sheets of the third essay.

As some of the lectures were delivered at Cambridge on more than one occasion, it may be well to state that the date placed at the end of each essay represents the year of delivery, after which apparently no fresh material was added in the notes in writing.

In conclusion, the Trustees desire to thank the officers and workmen of the University Press for intelligent criticism and for unfailing courtesy during the time that these sheets have been passing through the press.

J. R. H.

Corpus Chbisti College, Cambridge.
July 15, 1893.