PREFACE BY THE EDITOR. The name of Reimarus is scarcely kwn in this country beyond a very select circle of English students, while his writings, so far as I kw, have never been popularly kwn, r frequently quoted by English commentators. The reason for this will perhaps become apparent to any one who will take the trouble, or give himself the pleasure of reading this book. Reimarus is too thorough, too uncompromising, too faithful to his task, to suit the present attitude of mind and heart towards the central figure of the orthodox religion. The following pages have been translated- truly as a work and labour of love-from Lessing's Fragments by the Unkwn of Wolfenbuttel. The translator kindly permits me to share the hour of presenting these Fragments to the tice of English readers. With the actual work of translation I have had thing to do; my part has been only editorial, and limited to a few modifications of expression, which have t altered the sense. The method of criticism adopted by Reimarus commends itself most of all by its extreme lucidity and fidelity to the Gospel records. He teaches in such a manner as to reach even the most untutored mind; and so far is he from forcing upon us his own interpretations that he habitually makes the New Testament speak for itself, and every charge which he has been compelled to bring against the founders of Christianity is sustained and proved by their own testimony. I have t yet seen in the English language a work on this subject carrying such irresistible force of argument. A complaint might be made that the present work is, as its title declares, only fragmentary; but although a complete work from the master hand of Reimarus would doubtless have been of very great value, yet there is an advantage, t to be despised, in brevity and conciseness, especially when the subject itself is more calculated to weary than to refresh the mind. These paragraphs from the pen of the great German thinker are each and all well-aimed and powerful blows, and he must be a brave man who will attempt to place a shield between them and the orthodox faith. I venture to say there is only one method of neutralising or diminishing the force of this attack - the method of explaining away, of manipulating texts so as to make their sense the exact opposite of the natural meaning of the words. Such a method is t quite so much in favour as it once was, and somehow it has ceased to perform those brilliant feats of legerdemain which used to win so much applause. Reimarus either speaks truly or falsely; he quotes the New Testament either accurately or inaccurately; he either represents Jesus and the Apostles in their true light, as seen in the New Testament itself, or he has grossly misrepresented them. These are the questions for readers and critics to settle. They have their New Testament at hand, and can compare, its statements with those of Reimarus. No controversy was ever reduced within such reasonable and easy limits, or had its terms made more definite and intelligible. After a careful and candid perusal of this book, the reader will, I trust, join me in heartily thanking the translator for giving to our English students a critical work of such rare interest and such exceptional value.