söndag 9 juli 2017

Do Maccabees Disclaim Divine Inspiration?

Great Bishop of Geneva! : Do Maccabees Disclaim Divine Inspiration? · HGL's F.B. writings : On Bible Canon (and Some Other Inbetween)

This is one argument that the Apocrypha was not inspired—1 Maccabees 9:27 and 2 Macc. 15:37–39 explicitly disclaim divine inspiration.

dixit Sarfati

Now, here are the passages:

II Maccabees 15:37 This, then, is how matters turned out with Nicanor, and from that time the city has been in the possession of the Hebrews. So I will here end my story.

The Compiler’s Epilogue

38 If it is well told and to the point, that is what I myself desired; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that was the best I could do. 39 For just as it is harmful to drink wine alone, or, again, to drink water alone, while wine mixed with water is sweet and delicious and enhances one’s enjoyment, so also the style of the story delights the ears of those who read the work. And here will be the end.


1 Maccabees 9:27 So there was great distress in Israel, such as had not been since the time that prophets ceased to appear among them.

The authors and compilers are disclaiming inspiration as if prophets, but so is St Luke who claims to have been doing research.

In other words, the quoted words cannot exclude some other sort of Divine Inspiration from I and II Maccabees any more than the prologues to Gospel by St Luke and to Acts could exclude this type from Luke's authorship!/HGL

tisdag 30 maj 2017

Defending Papias on Matthew and Authencity of LXX

Lita Cosner a few days ago:

The Church Father Papias said that Matthew wrote a Hebrew version of his Gospel first. However, Matthew's Gospel as we have it now is not a translation from Hebrew. We know this because we know what Hebrew translated into Greek 'looks like', because we have the Septuagint (the Old Testament translated into Greek). Matthew's Gospel does not read like translated Hebrew.

Do we know what Latin translated into English looks like?

Latin Vulgate, Luke 24:1, here:
Una autem sabbati valde diluculo venerunt ad monumentum, portantes quae paraverant aromata

My word for word translation of it:
But on the one of the sabbath very in the morning twilight they came to the monument, carrying which they had prepared spices.

A little less slavish:
But on the first of the sabbath very early in the morning they came to the monument, carrying the spices which they had prepared.

The Douai Rheims version:
And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared.

So, from my two slavish versions we know what Latin translated to English looks like, therefore the Douai Rheims version is not in fact translated from Latin?

It sounds like English. It doesn't sound like "Latin translated to English". So, is it not a translation?

There are two options regarding this tradition 1) Someone recognized the 'Jewishness' of Matthew's Gospel and embellished that to say he originally wrote it in Hebrew (because tradition is not inspired, and we know of other places where the church fathers got it wrong)

  • Tradition preserves the originally inspired revelation. It is protected, like the Church Christ founded is protected. It is not inerrant as inspired, but infallible as protected. As is the Church which St Paul called the "pillar and ground of truth" [1 Timothy 3:15].

  • Apart from tradition we would not know the names of the Gospellers anyway. Or that the Gospels were accounts of a life which happened rather than results of a contest in fiction.

  • You have no case whatsoever where all Church Fathers got it wrong.

    You may have a case where one or other of them got it wrong. St Augustine thought God created all things "at once" rather than the correct "together", because St Jerome had not dared to use the Classical and no longer used "iunctim". St Augustine thought there were no "antipodes" (people living at the antipodes), which while literally probably true of the exact antipodes of Milan (45° 28′ 00″ sud, 170° 50' 00" ouest seems to be no land and therefore have no inhabitants, just Ocean water) is taken in a more general way false, and he had reasoned as a civilised man and a land crab, counting neither on people going to Americas as permanent exiles from Europe or Africa, nor on difference between getting West by the Canary and North Equatorial currents and getting back East without finding the Equatorial countercurrent or the Gulf stream. And St Jerome was (according to modern scholarship, though Petrus Comestor considered those manuscripts viciated, individually wrong (against the bishops of his time) on his wanting to to exclude Judith from the canon. But you find simply no instance where all Church Fathers were wrong, that was a Lutheran lie.

Here is one of your alternatives:

Matthew wrote an early version in his native Hebrew before composing the final version in Greek.

Would you consider, apart from language choice, that "And on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared." is another text than Vulgate?

Just because you "know" from my translation what Latin translated into English looks like?

I hope not!

Now, if we do accept that Gospel of St Matthew in Greek is St Matthew's idiomatic translation to Greek, and LXX a more slavish one, why would the LXX translators have preferred a slavish one?

Well, if they really were 6 Levites from [the territory of] each of the tribes* and were told to translate independently of each other the Scriptures, as tradition has it, then while the exact identity of the resulting Greek text is still a miracle, it also makes sense that they made some human effort on arriving at an identic text as well, and fearing that slight divergences of wording** might be exploited by the Egyptian Ptolemaic and somewhat capricious*** captor, they would have tried to at least minimise such things by sticking as close to the Hebrew text as possible.

On the other hand, St Matthew was under no such constraint, was probably more familiar with Greek than many of his ancestors among the LXX (yes, he was a Levite too!), since having extensively used it as a tax collector, and could therefore afford an idiomatic translation.

There is such a thing as a difference in latitude between what a Protestant would consider "liberal" and what a Catholic would consider "modernist". For a Catholic, many things are modernist, not by agreeing in detail or principle with Protestant liberals, which would very often be modernist too, but simply by agreeing even with Conservative Protestants in detail in such a way as to admit by a backdoor a Protestant principle, even those originally espoused by the Reformers. This comes through in Lita's self assessment:

Finally, I have to stress that none of this has to do with theological liberalism, though I can understand why people can become suspicious as many people use these issues as an excuse to disbelieve what is recorded in Scripture. Christians who are enthusiastically inerrantist (as I am) have even more reason to look into these issues because we believe the answers actually matter.

It may no longer be theologically liberal to the taste of a Protestant, but it is modernist to that of a Catholic to deny that St Matthew originally wrote his same self Gospel in Hebrew, rather than another one. If it does not immediately attack Scriptural inerrantism, it certainly does attack infallibility of Tradition. Less bad, but bad enough, since contradicting in effect 1 Timothy 3:15.

Here is a debate with a Catholic I assess as a Modernist on Theologyweb:

Marcan Priority a Protestant Thing, acc. to Duncan Graham Reid

The "Farmer" referred to (I did not find previous occasion where we had spoken about him, and therefore had to search the link) is this text:

1870 - 1914
by Professor William R. Farmer

I am at least happy Lita did not deny Matthean priority. This is a huge plus in today's world. See these decisions from Pontifical Bible Commission:

  • 4) On the Author and the Historical Truth of the Fourth Gospel, 1907. There is sufficient evidence that John the Apostle wrote the Fourth Gospel, the Commission stated, to uphold this opinion against adverse critics. We may not say that the discourses of Our Lord that are reported therein are not really the words of Jesus but theological compositions of the authors.

  • 8) On the Author, Date of Composition, and Historical Truth of the Gospel According to St. Matthew, 1911. Matthew, the Commission said, is in truth the author of the Gospel published under his name. The Gospel was originally written in Hebrew, sometime before the destruction of Jerusalem. We cannot accept the idea that the book was merely a collection of sayings compiled by an anonymous author. While the book was first written in Hebrew, the Greek is regarded as canonical, and is to be regarded as historically true, including the infancy narratives, and passages relating to the primacy of Peter (16:17-19) and to the Apostles' profession of faith in the divinity of Christ (14:33).

  • 9) On the Author, Time of Composition, and Historical Truth of the Gospels According to St. Mark and St. Luke, 1912. The Commission upheld the authorship of these books by Mark and Luke, their historicity, and their having been written before the destruction of Jerusalem. It cannot prudently be called into question, the Commission said, that Mark wrote according to the preaching of Peter, or that Luke followed the preaching of Paul. Both of them told what they had learned from "eminently trustworthy witnesses."

  • 10) On the Synoptic Question, or the Mutual Relations Between the First Three Gospels, 1912. It is lawful, the Commission said, for exegetes to discuss varying opinions about similarities and dissimilarities in the first three Gospels, and about hypotheses of oral or written tradition, or the dependence of one on another; but they are not to freely advocate unproven theories.

  • 11) On the Author, Time of Composition, and Historical Character of Acts, 1913. Luke, the Commission said, is certainly to be regarded as the author of Acts, and complete historical authority may be claimed for him.

What Does The Church Really Say About The Bible?
by Edith Myers

I am citing, obviously, decisions from the time of Pope St Pius X, under whom the commission was so examplary that as he said it would be seriously sinful to contest its rulings.

When it came to later decisions, it had degraded. The 1948 decision in response to Cardinal Suhard (numbered as 18) was so misleading that Pius XII actually in Humani Generis, while horribly soft on other questions, except of procedure, was forced, at first, in 1950 to reprehend° this response.

So, since the decisions leave me free between Augustinian and Clementine theories of the Synoptics, what if St Luke was one of the sources of St Mark instead of the reverse? The Clementine theory. Here is what Lita has to say against it:

And Luke himself says other gospels were written before his.

Would this necessarily mean Matthew and Mark? Not really, since if one was certainly St Matthew, there are also two non-canonic but still orthodox Gospels, those known as Gospel to Hebrews and Gospel to Egyptians, and the probably genuine Proto-Gospel of St James, there is even a certainty he was talking about more Gospels than we know about, that several were suppressed after his and other canonical ones replaced them as better written and with more authority.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Tuesday in Pentecost Novena

PS the link I gave contains a secnd part which is entirely laudable./HGL


* Levites, while also a tribe, were not given own territory, but were divided among the territories of the other tribes : so six Levites from Judah could have come from Bethlehem, six Levites from Ephraim could have come from Samaria and six Levites of Dan could have come from Gaza and so on.

** Like between "on the first of the sabbath" and "on the first day of the week".

*** Like Lita Cosner would be if refusing to recognise the Douai Rheims as being a translation from Vulgate.

° In Humani Generis : If, however, the ancient sacred writers have taken anything from popular narrations (and this may be conceded), it must never be forgotten that they did so with the help of divine inspiration, through which they were rendered immune from any error in selecting and evaluating those documents. See my quote here: One group member promoted Hutchison

lördag 27 maj 2017

Answering a Page about "Apocrypha"

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on Sufficiency of Scripture and Bible Canon (feat. our very special guest star : J. P. Holding) · Great Bishop of Geneva! : Answering a Page about "Apocrypha"

justforcatholics.org : The Apocrypha are Not Canonical

Athanasius (365 A.D.),
"There are then of the Old Testament twenty-two books in number ... this is the number of the letters among the Hebrews." (Letter 39.4)

BUT : his 22 books differ from the Jewish canon, since he omits Esther:

After listing the canonical books of the Scriptures, St Athanasius wrote: "There are other books besides the aforementioned, which, however, are not canonical. Yet, they have been designated by the Fathers to be read by those who join us and who wish to be instructed in the word of piety: the Wisdom of Solomon; and the Wisdom of Sirach; and Esther; and Judith; and Tobias..." (Thirty-ninth festal letter, 367).

[From their own site!]

This means that any Church Father who claims anything about 22 books could be repeating a word he could not verify if counting his canon or could be having a different selection from the Hebrew one, which has Esther.

First Maccabees
notes that there were no prophets in Israel at that time (1 Maccabees 4:46; 9:27; 14:41). Since the New Testament frequently refers to the Scriptures as "the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 5:17; 7:12; 11:13; 22:40; Luke 16:16; 24:44; John 1:45; Acts 13:15; 24:14; 28:23; Romans 3:21), how could a writing that specifically states that there were no prophets at the time when it was written be called Scripture?

The Old Testament is in Hebrew referred to Torah ve Nabiim ve Ketubim. Moses and Prophets and Writings. So, like Chronicles, for instance, or like Proverbs, I and II Maccabees could be a writing.

Historicity of Judith
Recently, someone asked me, "I was on a Catholic website that claimed the book of Judith is a parable. So when it says Nebuchadnezzar is the leader of the Assyrians it's not to be taken literally. What do you think about this?" Well, I think the reason why we are advised that the Book of Judith should not be taken literally is quite simple. The introductory verse of the books states:

"It was the twelfth year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh. At that time Arphaxad ruled over the Medes in Ecbatana."

But King Nebuchadnezzar was NOT the king of Assyria; he was the king of Babylon! (See, for example, 2 Kings 24:11 - "And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it") So, if we take Judith as a historical book, the evident historical blunder immediately undermines its supposed canonicity and inspiration.

The Catholic solution? Judith is not history - it is a parable! Even so, why should someone include evident historical stupidities in a parable? Imagine beginning a story like this: "When Sir Winston Churchill was President of the United States…" That does not give much credibility to your story, does it?

Nebuchadnessar II was in fact king of Assyria too, since its separate existence had ceased before he came to power.

Or one could say that it refers to someone else. Sharing the name or nicknamed so.

In the case of Nebuchadnessar I, while there was a king of Assyria not himself (this would be times of the judges), there was also a good entente between them, and the Assyrian king and he could have agreed to consider each others as kings also over each other's kngdoms.

Or it could be one of the two Nebuchadnessar III or IV, while they rebelled against Darius. In which case Persian goodwill to Jews may have originated in Judith's timely intervention.

Or, I give up my guessing and hand you, here is Bishop Challoner:

"Nabuchodonosor": Not the king of Babylon, who took and destroyed Jerusalem, but another of the same name, who reigned in Ninive: and is called by profane historians Saosduchin. He succeeded Asarhaddan in the kingdom of the Assyrians, and was contemporary with Manasses king of Juda.

In other words, "parable" solution is out. Judith is historical.

Sts Isidore and Hrabanus on Esra
Isidore of Seville (600 A.D.) said the Old Testament was settled by Ezra the priest into twenty-two books "that the books in the Law might correspond in number with the letters." (Liber de Officiis)

Hrabanus (9th century A.D.) said the Old Testament was formed by Ezra into twenty-two books "that there might be as many books in the Law as there are letters." (Whitaker, Disputation)

See below.

The Council of Laodicea (343-391 A.D.),
Twenty-two books. (Canon 60)

Pope Gregory the Great
says this about the apocrypha: "…we are not acting irregularly, if from the books, though not canonical, yet brought out for the edification of the Church, we bring forth testimony" (Moral Teachings Drawn from Job; 19, 34).

Here is book 18:


I could neither find the line in Arabic numerals 34 (§34), nor in Roman numerals xxxiv (chapter xxxiv).

Also, in absence of definition, it could be referring to sth other than what Protestants usually call Apocrypha.

Cardinal Cajetan
a leading Roman Catholic scholar at the time of the Reformation in the sixteenth century, clearly states that the apocryphal books are not canonical and cannot be used to confirm matters of faith. (See St Jerome and the Apocrypha).

St Jerome (see below) was popular. Deservedly so, for other reasons.

Just before Trent
"Even on the eve of the council [of Trent] the Catholic view was not absolutely unified...Catholic editions of the Bible published in Germany and in France in 1527 and 1530 contained only the protocanonical books" [3] i.e. the list of Old Testament books of these Catholic Bibles was identical to the Hebrew and Protestant Bibles.

Right. The Catholic view was not absolutely unified, that is the reason why the majority view which had upper hand in Trent is vilified, while a clearly minoritarian view just before Trent must be the right one, since not Catholic majority and since not reflected in Trent.

As if, instead of the Church having a Divine Charism of truth, it were somehow possessed by devils of untruth and its every word and decision is suspect because of that origin.

But if that is what they believe, they should prove it, not presume it silently while discussing "apocrypha" nor "prove it" from their stance on them.

Carthage I
Greatly influenced by Augustine, the provincial councils of Hippo and Carthage in the fourth century included the apocrypha as part of the Old Testament canon. However, we must add that contrary to the impression given by Catholic apologists, the apocrypha were not officially recognized by the Catholic church as canonical at Hippo and Carthage. The apocrypha were finally added to the Old Testament by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent in the 16th century.

Equivocation, since the Catholic Church as such did not have one position or the other officially, up to Trent, obviously excluding local canons like those of Carthage (with Maccabees and with Apocalypse) or Laodicea (without Maccabees, but also without Apocalypse).

Note also, the canon by council of Laodicaea is speaking of books read from. A book could have canonical authority, but not be part of official, local, lectionary.

Carthage II
Moreover the canon approved by Carthage is different from that approved by Trent. The Council of Trent omits the Septuagint First Esdras which had been included by Carthage; while Second Esdras (Ezra and Nehemiah combined in a single book in the Septuagint) were distinguished as two separate books (First Esdras and Second Esdras, also known as Nehemiah).

Both Carthage and Trent list I & II Esra.

In Trent this means: I Esra = "Esra", II Esra = "Nehemia".

That some versions of LXX include a I Esra diverse from that of Trent does not necessarily mean its II Esra is both Trent's I and II Esra.

Russian Bibles have:

I Esra [not in Catholic Bibles]
II Esra = I Esra = "Esra"
III Esra = II Esra = "Nehemia"

Obviously the Vorlage of Vulgate had a diverse LXX from that of the Russian Orthodox Bible.

We cannot now determine which of the two was that of Carthage, and if it had had the Russian I Esra it does not follow it would have combined Esra and Nehemia into one book, I would like to know where exactly this claim is from.

Up to the time of the Reformation,
they were not generally regarded as canonical books on the same level as the Old Testament Scripture. "St Jerome distinguished between canonical books and ecclesiastical books. The latter he judged were circulated by the Church as good spiritual reading but were not recognized as authoritative Scripture" (The New Catholic Encyclopaedia, The Canon).

If you cannot consider Carthage as Catholic Church generally accepting II Maccabees, neither can you accept St Jerome as Catholic Church generally not regarding it as canonic.

You are hovering over "not generally" which is literally true - as long as you don't make it mean "generally not".

There was no literally "general" as in "universal" feeling, but the "most prevalent" both in St Jerome's time (which he bowed down to) and up to Trent was for canonicity of these books.

[Unless one of the councils of Nicaea, I in 325 or II in 787 actually gave a list - if titulus can mean that - of canonic books, as Historia Scholastica suggests. See below.]

Sts Augustine and Jerome
How then did the apocryphal writings find their way in the Catholic Bible? Early in the second century, the first Latin translations of the Bible were done from the Septuagint (which included the apocrypha). There was a conflict between the great Fathers, Augustine and Jerome, regarding the value of the apocrypha. Augustine accepted them because he used the Septuagint which contained these books and which was popular in North Africa. Jerome was one of the few Fathers who knew both Greek and Hebrew, and he rejected the apocrypha because he knew that those books were not accepted by the Jews and were not part of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Yes, that was the difference between the two.

BUT you are forgetting that he was more or less ALONE in not accepting them for this reason.

In the Catholic Church, the measure of information outside Scriptures themselves (and this means the measure of whether a book is canonical or not, since no complete list of canonical books is found in the Bible), is NOT the individual learning of this or that Father, but the consensus of all or if not usually at least most Fathers.

However, some have even attributed to scribal errors St Jerome not considering Judith canonical:

Hanc historiam transtulit Hieronymus ad petitionem Paulae et Eustochii de Chaldaeo in Latinum. Hic liber apud Hebraeos inter historias computatur, et inter agiographa, quod dicit Hieronymus in prologo, qui sic inchoat: Viginti et duas litteras, etc. Si ergo in prologo super Judith, alicubi legitur inter apocrypha, vitium est scriptoris, quod in ipso titulo deprehendi potest, quem synodus Nicaena in numero sanctarum Scripturarum recepit.

This is from Historia Scholastica in the résumé on Judith.

"This history St Jerome translated at request of Paula and Eustochius from Chaldaean to Latin. This book is among Hebrews counted among histories and among hagiographers, which Jerome says in the prologue, which begins thus :Twenty-two letters, etc. If therefore in the prologue over Judith somewhere is read 'among apocrypha' this is a copyists's error, which can be deprehended from the very title [=list?], which the Nicene synod [I 325 or II in 787?] accepted in the number of holy Scriptures." [My translations.]

In other words, not all Catholics would have agreed that St Jerome did count Judith as apocryphal. The Historia Scholastica was very popular and the basis for giving laymen in some counries (notably Rijmbijbel in Flemish) an overview of, not deep doctrine, or hard questions on such matters or prophetic ones, but simple Biblical history.

Taking over from Jews
The church inherited the canonical books from God's Old Covenant people, the Jews. (God also gave the church additional books, the New Testament, which completes the Holy Bible). It does not make sense to make additions to the books of the Old Testament many centuries after the covenant with the Jewish people had given way to the new. The Church in the New Testament has no business adding to the canon of the Old Covenant Scriptures received by the Jews.

Indeed, but you just admitted that LXX was used in 2:nd C. And this means, these books were also used then.

What is more probable?

That the Christians during the very first C. had added books, before even St John had yet died?

Or that for some reason the Jews had chosen a canon with fewer books than the one Christians took over as LXX?

I definitely think the latter.

I also think there are clear references to two sacerdotal canons : Esra's, done in exile, and another one, done under the Maccabees.

We can presume the latter canon included all the books contained in Esra, but it is also likely it could contain material Esra had no opportunity to access.

In the latter case, the Maccabean canon may have been restricted to Sadducees - and to Hellenistic Jews.

It could also be that the books were by some fluke added to the Vorlage of the LXX, and God canonised it during the translation by making their Greek translations agree on these also. A miracle from God being a canonisation even in absence of priestly one.

But more probably, the six Levites from each tribe (Levites were spread out in the territory of the Twelve Tribes) would probably have been translating whatever they translated as in common with the Maccabaean priests in Jerusalem.

Either way, it is very probable they were all held as canonical by Hellenistic Jews even before Christianity, and that is where most Christians got their OT from. During, precisely, 1:st C.

Supposed contradiction in doctrine
"What is more serious, the apocrypha teach doctrines that contradicts Scripture (see, for instance, Sirach 3:3,30, in contrast with Galatians 2:16,21; 3:10-14; Tobit 12:9 contradicts 1 John 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22; Wisdom 8:19,20 contradicts Romans 3:10). They encourage practices that do not conform to Scripture (Sirach 12:4-7 disagrees with Luke 6:27-38 and Matthew 5:43-48)."

I "contradiction"
"Sirach 3:3,30, in contrast with Galatians 2:16,21; 3:10-14"

Sirach 3:[3] For God hath made the father honourable to the children: and seeking the judgment of the mothers, hath confirmed it upon the children. ... [30] The congregation of the proud shall not be healed: for the plant of wickedness shall take root in them, and it shall not be perceived.

Galatians 2:[16] But knowing that man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ; we also believe in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. ... [21] I cast not away the grace of God. For if justice be by the law, then Christ died in vain.

Galatians 3:[10] In the dispensation of the fulness of times, to re-establish all things in Christ, that are in heaven and on earth, in him. [11] In whom we also are called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will. [12] That we may be unto the praise of his glory, we who before hoped Christ: [13] In whom you also, after you had heard the word of truth, (the gospel of your salvation;) in whom also believing, you were signed with the holy Spirit of promise, [14] Who is the pledge of our inheritance, unto the redemption of acquisition, unto the praise of his glory.

Has their site been hacked? Have their references become garbled? I see neither contradiction in sentence, nor unity of subject.

II "contradiction"
"Tobit 12:9 contradicts 1 John 1:7 and Hebrews 9:22"

Tobit 12:[9] For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting.

1 John 1:[7] But if we walk in the light, as he also is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Hebrews 9:[22] And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Has their site been hacked? Have their references become garbled? I see neither contradiction in sentence, nor unity of subject.

Or, if the sentence is "alms are not the blood of Christ", well, alms are at least a word from Christ:

Gospel According to Saint Matthew : Chapter 25 : [31] And when the Son of man shall come in his majesty, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit upon the seat of his majesty. [32] And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left. [34] Then shall the king say to them that shall be on his right hand: Come, ye blessed of my Father, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. [35] For I was hungry, and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger, and you took me in:

[36] Naked, and you covered me: sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came to me. [37] Then shall the just answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, and fed thee; thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] And when did we see thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and covered thee? [39] Or when did we see thee sick or in prison, and came to thee? [40] And the king answering, shall say to them: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me.

[41] Then he shall say to them also that shall be on his left hand: Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. [42] For I was hungry, and you gave me not to eat: I was thirsty, and you gave me not to drink. [43] I was a stranger, and you took me not in: naked, and you covered me not: sick and in prison, and you did not visit me. [44] Then they also shall answer him, saying: Lord, when did we see thee hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister to thee? [45] Then he shall answer them, saying: Amen I say to you, as long as you did it not to one of these least, neither did you do it to me.

[46] And these shall go into everlasting punishment: but the just, into life everlasting.

And this agrees very well with Tobit 12:9!

III "contradiction"
"Wisdom 8:19,20 contradicts Romans 3:10"

Wisdom 8:[19] And I was a witty child and had received a good soul. [20] And whereas I was more good, I came to a body undefiled.

Romans 3:[10] As it is written: There is not any man just.

Witty child is not necessarily "just". The "good soul" was "received" and Romans 3:10 has this qualification by bishop Challoner:

"There is not any man just": viz. By virtue either of the law of nature, or of the law of Moses; but only by faith and grace.

IV "contradiction"
"Sirach 12:4-7 disagrees with Luke 6:27-38 and Matthew 5:43-48"

Sirach 12: [4] Give to the merciful and uphold not the sinner: God will repay vengeance to the ungodly and to sinners, and keep them against the day of vengeance. [5] Give to the good, and receive not a sinner.

[6] Do good to the humble, and give not to the ungodly: hold back thy bread, and give it not to him, lest thereby he overmaster thee. [7] For thou shalt receive twice as much evil for all the good thou shalt have done to him: for the Highest also hateth sinners, and will repay vengeance to the ungodly.

Luke 6: [27] But I say to you that hear: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. [28] Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that calumniate you. [29] And to him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. [30] Give to every one that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again.

[31] And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner. [32] And if you love them that love you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also love those that love them. [33] And if you do good to them who do good to you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also do this. [34] And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thanks are to you? for sinners also lend to sinners, for to receive as much. [35] But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil.

[36] Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. [37] Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you shall be forgiven. [38] Give, and it shall be given to you: good measure and pressed down and shaken together and running over shall they give into your bosom. For with the same measure that you shall mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.

Matthew 5:[43] You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thy enemy. [44] But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you: [45] That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.

[46] For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this? [47] And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this? [48] Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

First of all, a man is not necessarily wicked because he is against you.

This means any injunction not to count offenses against yourself is in no contradiction with Sirach 12, since "your enemy" may be a godly man. He might even be considering you ungodly and obeying Sirach!

Second, Sirach is talking about ungodly as being known such. Either then very obvious cases, or cases which you have judged so.

The "judge not" part means we must not presume to judge. If we think "he could be godly" (as long as this is in any way defensible) we are not in fact reaping the curse in Sirach.

Thus, no contradiction.

Third, if there should be one who does not accept these solutions, one can also say they reflect Old and New covenant as diverse dispensations.

fredag 19 maj 2017

Solution to Conundrum of "Alexandrian Cult"

The Catholic Church says that the Original Autographs of each Bible book were inerrant in all details.

This gave me an interest in a FB group called Original Autographs Onlyism.

And someone was arguing that the Original Autographs Onlyism was basically repeating the "creed of the Alexandrian Cult".

From whom I copied this definition thereof, inserting the FB page.

Click above to enlarge.

There is a solution : Ecclesiastic Infallibility on matters necessary to Salvation, and being satisfied with less than full inerrancy for some detail for other matters.

This solution is the Catholic solution and the reason why Catholics are NOT Nicolaitans in the above sense.

But note, while a matter disputeable between manuscripts and text versions is not inerrant, unless defined by Church, till we get Original Manuscripts, by contrast, a matter on which all versions agree is inerrant.

Whether Emmaus is 60 or 160 stades from Jerusalem is not inerrant, since most manuscripts have 60 stades and one Syrian one 160 stades. But that Our Lord revealed Himself as risen to the disciples of Emmaus is inerrant, since that manuscript agrees on it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Pope St. Celestine V*

Updated with injunction to click image to enlarge it.

* Natalis sancti Petri de Morono Confessoris, qui, ex Anachoreta Summus Pontifex creatus, dictus est Caelestinus Quintus. Sed Pontificatu se postmodum abdicavit, et in solitudine religiosam vitam agens, virtutibus et miraculis clarus, migravit ad Dominum.

måndag 17 april 2017

Lita Cosner attacks Catholic doctrine, defending their "Bible alone" heresy

Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : Quorans on Conflict between Pope and Bible, Hypothetical Question · Great Bishop of Geneva! : Lita Cosner attacks Catholic doctrine, defending their "Bible alone" heresy

First, is she really considering books yes and oral tradition no as uniquely God's Revelation? It would seem so from this:*

"But out of all the media through which God might have given us His revelation, why did He choose a written medium? Why didn’t He inspire an oral tradition that was passed down from generation to generation? Or some sort of visual medium other than text?"

Now, this comes out pretty much as sola Scriptura. Sure, it is on their belief statement, but usually defending this against Catholic Scripture + Unritten Traditions (from back in the time of the Apostles) is not their chief agenda. As this came up, if you are serious, where is "Scripture alone" in all of Scripture? If you cannot find it there (and you cannot), either this is not serious, or at least, this is not a basic crredal statement, only an optional opinion about how Revelation works. In fact, Lita Cosner did not try to back this up biblically, she gave extra-biblical reasons for her opinion. While I have reasons both in Scripture and in Tradition and Infallible Magisterium of Trent (convoked 470 years ago) for believing firmly with faith, not just opining, that she is wrong, I should however also be able to deal with her human reasons. Which I proceed to do.

"When a message is strictly oral, its transmission is restricted to the movement of the people who carry the message, and it is limited to people within earshot of the person speaking. By contrast, a written document can be copied 100 times and taken around the world."

When a message is oral, even in absence of writing, it can be given to 100 peoples within earshot of the person dictating. These can be asked to repeat it over and over again, until they have it strictly correctly.

A person having learned an oral message by heart is as able to get across the world as a book. And on the other side of the world or of the oecumene of one's time can do as much good or more as or than a strictly unaccompanied book.

Lita Cosner will in the post also claim that Flood stories around the world prove unreliability of oral tradition. If so, they prove that oral tradition was the most basic access people had to the story after the Flood. It would be curious if the tradition from Flood to Babel had been written down in pages or tablets,accessible to everyone having learned to read, but after the confusion of tongues they found they could no longer read them, and then they made no effort of learning what they had previously spoken and read, nor were in any way suspicious of having another tongue than they had had while being still able to read them. Even so, the Flood story as such has reached all corners of the world. Whether it was the oral tradition (presumably a condition shared on Hebrew line up to Abraham) or sth else which was responsible for distortions of the story, I'll return to.

Presumably she might be thinking of modern conditions, in which a man rarely has available on spot 100 men who then have the leasure to go out into all the world - but Christ could 2000 years ago find 72 of them. Also, a man sending 100 books to diverse corners of the world (easy if you are rich enough to pay printing and stamps) would either do so to people already his associates, and therefore the situation would also involve oral tradition about it, or he would accompany the book with some kind of introductory letter, which involves at least one kind of transmission outside the book itself. So, the very setup of preferring a book only over an oral only tradition, as Lita does is flawed in conception. Not taking all factors into account even in the modern situation and imposing a modern "priority of possibilities" on ancient situations, far removed from modern Capitalism with world wide post office collaborations.

Already one thing to consider is this, that when Christianity began, books were generally scrolls - much more cumbrous and more easily detected than an oral message in times of persecution. It is possible to my imagination, though not totally shared by experts, that Christians invented the codex (books where pages are turned one after each other, not rolled around a pin) in order to get around the problem : at least they contributed to make it popular. This is because Bibles were not totally optional, especially in liturgy. There is a part in which the bishop, priest or deacon reads a portion of the Gospels. But as to getting a missionary to start converting, I don't think even Gospel manuscripts were St Paul's priority to bring along on travels, they could come later, with people less conspicuous than he.

So, the spread factor, which according to Lita Cosner is a reason why God preferred a "book only" transmission of His inerrant and infallible word, is actually a reason against this, for God having sometimes preferred oral only (up to Moses at latest) and sometimes oral with written transmission, which we know to have been the form of transmission from Moses to Christ (Exodus 12:26-27).

I am reminded of a former Evangelical, now Atheist, who similarily seems to have had trouble imagining how much freer people were to travel, to take time off to do a thing, if free and not slaves, 2000 years ago.

somewhere else : What a blooper, Dan Barker from Atheist League!
[short link ppt.li/rrxn]

So, Lita's "logistic blooper" may be making more Dan Barkers.

Now, let us consider the other factor, is oral tradition reliable, humanly speaking (obviously God could by Omnipotence have turned the least good means of transmission into an infallibly inerrant one, but both Lita and I agree this is not what He did, and so we discuss whether oral tradition has a standing as comparably reliable to written or not)?

"Studies show that oral tradition, especially in societies with low literacy, is actually quite accurate, but as we can see with the Flood stories around the world, history passed down strictly orally has a tendency to change much faster than written documents."

Really? Lita has proof positive that Moses relied on Noah's and his sons' material writings?

Or that the changes from Hebrew truth all happened after Moses had culled the oral tradition just in time, before it changed? I think not. This part has two components. For one thing, we must examplify that oralo tradition as such is reliable, and next, we must explain her example of why it seems unreliable.

She actually brought up, nearly naming them, Milman Perry. They studied the oral transmission of epics such as that of Kosovo Polje battle by Serbian story singers. Since they recorded lots of performances, they could show that while a long song actually is performed with some variants, the presence or absence of a certain elaboration corresponds to mood, not to presence or absence of it from tradition, so that the tradition can be considered as fairly fixed. What they sing is probably what their predecessors sung in very early memory after Kosovo Polje and what Peisistratos took down from Rhapsodes is therefore probably what the Rhapsodes some earlier century had heard from the mouth of Homer.

But this is "as strange as news from Bree" to quite a few of her readers, and presumably a bit to herself as well, which is why she doesn't take the right conclusion. There are other examples which even she would acknowledge as implying we normally do trust oral tradition as being trustworthy.

I just brought up Lord of the Rings, last paragraph. How do we know Tolkien did not translate an actual historic document from Adunaic while Gospels and Genesis are products of some good novelist? By tradition external to the books, in the case of Tolkien's work not purely oral, but in the case of the earlier one presumably so. Lita could counter that one partial aspect of chapter 1 of Genesis is confirmed by God as factual in Exodus, but this brings up the question about Exodus. We know, and Jesus humanly knew, while growing in wisdom, that Genesis and Exodus are history not fiction, from oral tradition.

A very clear example is that Lita Cosner speaks English. She learned the pronounced language orally. In fact, if someone were to learn English entirely from a lexicon (+ grammar, + books) and ignore IPA and ignore what IPA symbols stand for, which he could learn easistes by oral tradition, he would probably pronounce English after pronunciation rules of his own language, and get English pronunciation wrong. And the pronunciation rules of his own language, these also he learned by oral tradition.

And after speaking our mother tongues, many of us (but not all, as already mentioned) by now learn to write them. Or at least read them. This would be impossible without the oral tradition about what sound or spectrum of different sounds each letter or combination of letters can stand for.

And there is a reason why oral tradition works : learning by heart. Lita can check reciting the Apostolic Creed or the Nicene Creed, or the Lord's Prayer or the Ten Commandments.

The essence of the Christian message, as far as propositional revelation is concerned can be summed up in these three parts. Which can be transmitted orally if books should lack.

Next question is what I do with all more or less garbled non-Hebrew versions of The Flood.

Well, I would say very little has changed due to the insecurities of oral tradition as such. Most changes are for other reasons.

If Norse version of it was transmitted by Odin and he was a Hebrew (which of course takes down one independent witness as not independent, but it was a late one anyway), the positive element that it involved killing off of giants may be due to Odin overemphasising Nephelim (perhaps to fraudulently stamp his son as a great Nephelim killer), and the negative elements of no men before the Flood, no Earth before the Flood etc would be from his deliberate and fraudulent choice of posing as having been, with two of his brothers a Marduk style world creator as per monster killing.

In the Greek case, the real case of whittling down is if Aegyptos and Danaos are supposed to be a generation immediately after Deucalion and Pyrrha, there are way too few generations up to Trojan War, while in the case they aren't supposed to be that, there is a gap, suggesting a loss of tradition. But as to the story itself, every element can be tied down to some Biblical story, not always that of the Flood. Three Gods come to a pious but childless couple, save them from disaster and afterwards they are in a quandry about how to repeople the world ... sounds like three angels visiting Abraham and Sarah, two of them saving Lot and his dughters from Sodom, his daughters imagining they need to repeople the world, with a bit of artistic telescoping. But why is this tied to the Flood? My view is simply this, that Greeks (at least Hercules, whose relation to Iolaos was of a morally dubious kind and ill repute) were beginning to be tolerant of the sin of Sodom, and therefore unwilling to retell the story of Sodom as it was. Hence, taking its elements and transferring them back to the Flood was a deliberate cover up.

In the case of the War of Troy, Homer never mentions Hittites, though they were or recently had been around when the war happened. Why? Insecurity of tradition? Or perhaps a deliberate cover up of the fact they existed, a cover up ordered by the nobility which descended from Hittite such, and who had a gentleman's agreement not to mention the world Empire which failed due to internal war (this is at least how the documentary Dark Lords of Hattusha paints what happened around the fall of that capital).

Some in the case of how gods are described is of course interpretation due to the new and false theologies. Beginnings of Iliad and Odyssey both feature gods, and I think Apollo is described more realistically, insofar as a demon really is called "lord of the flies". While mentioning Odyssey, the most parts of Ulysses' ten years between Troy and getting home could be a cover up on his part. Saying Calypso was a goddess who forced him magically to stay could have been convenient before Penelope. Saying certain crew drowned might in the worst of cases sound better than saying he sold them to Phoenicians or even abandoned them to Phoenicians (or whoever were the maritime trading power in these days). The son of Laërtes is not known for complete truthfulness on all occasions. This means, the dubiously trustworthy content of parts of Odyssey are more due to initial fraud than to faulty transmission.

The Peruvian flood myth features two departures from the real Flood : Andes are "used as an Ark" and the survivors are siblings who go on to people Perú. The one feature is perhaps due to a complete loss of the technology of ships beyond balsa rafts, which would have floundered in a very bad weather. The other feature is probably meant to explain why Incas married sisters.

Sumerian myth, on the other hand is nearly like the Biblical one, except for polytheism and a tinge of Malthusianism in theology, making the god whe sent flood and the god who saved different, and motive of the former selfish, method of the latter devious, and except for making Ark a giant version of Sumerian river coracles, which would not have worked. The latter would be due to technology loss and to not being as candid about coracles as Peruvians about balsa rafts.

A more complex case is Mahabharata and Ramayana.

I have reconstructed that Mahabharata happened pre-Flood, generation after the sons and daughter of Lamech presented in the Bible being that of Kauravas and Pandavas, but Ramayana post-Flood, Rama being the son of Kush of similar name and either Hanuman or Nama being Nimrod while still young and benevolent against his brothers, as Josephus states. But, in Hindu lore we don't have only Hindu gods (not counting Krishna as a total intruder, just considering his deification unwarranted) and pre-Flood presumable Hebrew names expressed in Sanskrit, not only (in generations earlier than Pandavas and Kauravas) a Bharat who seems to combine the two Henoch (the Cainite as Empire builder, the Sethite as assumed into Heaven), but an inversion of the order in which I reconstruct their relation.

Well, I consider it feasible that one was trying to cover up that a Flood had happened recently and intervened between Mahabharata memories and oneselves. And as sufficient generations had passed after Ramayana material, or with very decisive fraud, their timelines were interchanged, and Flood was preponed to before a very remote Ramayana.

So, we have both a book and an oral tradition as fairly reliable per se methods of preserving a message, but we should not neglect that we have other parts than the propositional content of Revelation. Routines and material objects count too.

I suppose Lita Cosner has a daily routine involving : morning prayer, grace before meals, evening prayer, daily Bible reading. I don't think she can point to any definite Bible passage which tells of exactly all parts of this routine and nothing else.

Routine's of the Christian life are an excellent example of what Catholics traditionally consider to have been transmitted orally only : sign of the cross, fasting on wednesdays and fridays, now limited to abstinence from meat on fridays in Latin tradition (but more rigorous in Byzantine, which the Church also includes). And seven sacraments, and the liturgy of the Mass. Add hereto the iconographic traditions, and the relics considered genuine from very early on. This is part of Revelation, yet is not propositional content.

Or not primarily - one can make propositional content about it, once it is challenged of course.

The things which are propositional content, however, are considered as relying on a double or triple transmission to us : Bible text (not 66 books, but 73 btw, other non-Protestant and older than Reformation churches saying perhaps even more, two more books of Maccabees or one more book of Esra ...) and oral tradition and magisterium. Magisterium being infallible in three cases :

  • Pope speaking ex cathedra;
  • Pope and majority of bishops in vote of a General Council;
  • Pope with totality or near totality (with moral equivalent of totality) of bishops, all agreeing on same point.

Obviously, if magisterium should get near a shipwreck, it would contradict not just Bible but also tradition (when it comes to propositional content that would involve magisterium of the past and all writings of all canonised hurch Fathers), and therefore at least some bishops would disagree, and magisterium would be saved from giving the signs of infallibility to what is false. And similarily for other two means : if Bible risks being misunderstood on a point, if tradition risks being forgotten.

God chose a threefold, not a simple means of securing full transmission fidelity of Revelation.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Maison-Alfort / Alfortville
Easter Monday

* http://creation.com/why-book

lördag 15 april 2017

Is this Playing the Devil's Advocate?

The word "devil's advocate" has two meanings. In Catholic parlance, it means a person in whom is confided the task to oppose the canonisation of a Saint. He is supposed to bring up all that can be said so as to conclude "we cannot canonise X as a saint". In some cases, some of these men may have even considered someone who was after that canonised as having probably gone to Hell, i e to the Devil, hence the nickname "devil's advocate". His real name is "promotor fidei", because he is there to see to it faith is not diluted due to a canonisation which is false.

In more recent parlance, it means defending a man who is very impopular - a man who is about as impopular (at least among the relevant set) as the devil is among Christians. A man who says "Stalin was more orderly and more cherishing of Orthodox Christianity than Lenin" would thus be playing "the devil's advocate" among people of Anarchist, Trotskist, Leninist-but-Antistalinist convictions.

Among some, defending even a phrase of Amoris Laetitia is similarily playing the devil's advocate.

The Old Evangelisation : Pope Francis vs. Trent
Mar 11, 2017

A subject may know full well the rule, yet have great difficulty in understanding “its inherent values”, or be in a concrete situation which does not allow him or her to act differently and decide otherwise without further sin.

Amoris Laetitiae, §301

If anyone says that the commandments of God are impossible to observe even for a man who is justified and established in grace, let him be anathema.

Council of Trent, session 6, canon 18

There is no contradiction. Trent qualifies the condemned proposition with "even for a man who is justified and established in grace". AL does not pretend that the concrete situation involves a man being justified and established in grace.

In fact, the final words of §301 are not totally synonym to "in order to avoid sin", but rather synonym to "without further sin", that is "to avoid graver mortal sins than the ones one is already caught in".

If I were to towse a girl without being married, then get the shrinks who pretend I am homosexual to realise I am heterosexual, then get an allowance from Churchmen listening to them to marry, specifically her, I would not be avoiding mortal sin, but I might be avoiding to get into worse mortal sins than I am already in. I might even, after that, get back to grace.

Of course, it would have been preferrable to have get married first, but perhaps some Church men have not allowed me to get on with marriage, have blocked me, due to them taking, superstitiously, the words of shrinks as Gospel truth about me, as if being "shrink of H G Lundahl" were the equivalent of being a cobbler and deserving of believing each artisan in his own art, like I believe cobblers when they say what has to be done about my shoes.

On the other hand, if I had been so righteous that I would have been able to stay both charitable and chaste without being allowed marriage, this might have been a better thing per se.

I am not sure it would have been a better thing for me in the end. God may have a plan for getting me back to justified and getting me established in grace, firmly.

But Trent does not say that I can stay chaste and charitable even if unmarried even if I am not in a state of grace. Trent in fact says, elsewhere, that as long as I am not in a state of grace, I cannot in the long term avoid all mortal sin. Nor does Trent state I will stay unmarried.

Having defended a paragraph, however, I must say that Bergoglio seems to have been at least tolerant of bishops and monasteries and fraternities waylaying me so as to force me to stay celibate, or even testing me in military traditional ways if I am homo before allowing me to marry. Those traditional tests are not quite out of place when allowing a man a place in a regiment, since even a shade of homosexual feelings may be a shade too much for that regiment, since there is bound to be someone with a shade of homophobic sentiment, such as God has given most men, including me, to preserve us if tempted to homosexuality. But even more so, because a man denied a place in a regiment because unjustly considered homosexual will usually not be tempted to sin for the sole reason of being denied a military carreer.

But such tests are out of place when deciding if a man has a right to marry or not. Since some wives do not take certain shades of homosexual mentality as an affront, and even more so since being denied marriage can for some people actually be damnation. Since one of the goods of marriage is precisely "in remedium concupiscentiae". Since a heterosexual man being denied, not a carreer presupposing for the sake of other men hetereosexuality, as much as a bliss proper to heterosexuality, may be tempted to hatred - and may not rise above it. It is not for nothing that St Paul said I Tim 4:1-3:

1 Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, 3 Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth.

If these times are last, vegetarianism seems to recur without Gnosticism, and it could well be that he was by "forbidding to marry" not referring to a total and general ban (though some feminists and some redefinitions of marriage seen to go that way), but about forbidding particular men totally to do so.

There is similarily an individually tailored ban on alcohol around, a ban available for those who have been stamped as "alcoholics". I suspect I have been caught in that kind of social trap too, which is not likely to make me more charitable.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Holy Saturday