It may seem strange that pantheists, agnostics, and atheists should think it worthwhile to employ themselves upon such a work of supererogation [to perform over and above the call of duty] as to attack the Bible in detail, when they have already condemned it in the gross; but many books of this kind of pseudo-criticism are yearly written. We may take as an eminent example Strauss in his “Life of Jesus.” With his pantheistic conception of God and of His relations to men, he could not accept the Gospels as possibly true. Such a man as the Incarnate Son, the Christ of the Church, could not ever have lived. Undoubtedly there lived the man Jesus, a super-eminent religious genius, yet in nature a man like other men, without supernatural powers, a son of His age; and the work of criticism is to separate the nucleus of historical truth in the gospel narratives from the encrustations that have grown up around it. The reader, knowing his philosophical starting point, knows from the first to what conclusion Strauss will come; and that, even if there were absolute agreement among the Evangelists as to the details of the Lord’s earthly life, the more important of their statements would have been rejected all the same.
—Samuel J. Andrews