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Brink, L. (1915). Ecce Deus. Studies of Primitive Christianity. By William Benjamin Smith. Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago.. Psychoanal. Rev., 2(4):472-475.

(1915). Psychoanalytic Review, 2(4):472-475

Ecce Deus. Studies of Primitive Christianity. By William Benjamin Smith. Open Court Publishing Company, Chicago.

Review by:
L. Brink

This volume contains a brief treatment of a subject promised in fuller form, but so forcibly and with such convincing logic has the author presented his case that a further discussion can only multiply details to support a position already secured. His contention is not with those who can conceive of the Jesus as God and man in one.

Their belief he dismisses as impossible to the modern, reasoning mind, though held consistently by numbers so constituted mentally that they can accept this phenomenon, as it were in a compartment of the mind shut away from reason itself. It is with the historicists that he joins issue. Their position he defines as illogical, unhistorical, as pregnable at every point. Modern reason cannot accept Jesus as both God and man. The most acute and profound attempts to prove him merely an historical character fail signally, therefore but one thesis is left to stand; he must be a humanized God, and this thesis Professor Smith establishes through a series of carefully investigated proofs, which form the main argument of the book and are supplemented and strengthened in a series of addenda.

The personality of Jesus, of which the historicists make so much, Professor Smith cannot find as distinctive enough to have been the source of such a world moving power as Christianity. There were many personalities, among whom that of the Jesus as a man was by no means conspicuous or powerful. Rather it was the worship of God, the one God, under the name, aspect or person of the Jesus that formed the “primitive and indefectible essence of the primitive preaching and propaganda.

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