tisdag 10 oktober 2017

Was the Bible For or Against Luther's Work? (part 3 of series)


Continued from previous. Imputed only righteousness in Philippians 3:9?

7 But what things were gain to me, those I have counted loss for Christ.

8 But indeed I count all things to be but loss, for the excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ, my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but as dung, that I may gain Christ,

9 And may be found in him not having my justice, which is of the law, but that which is of the faith of Christ Jesus: the justice which is of God in faith,

10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death:

Ver. 9. I may be found in him not having my justice, which is of the law; i.e. not pretending to be justified either by my own works or by the works of the Jewish law, but by that which proceedeth from faith in Christ, and by his merits. (Witham) --- St. Augustine expounds the sense thus: not that justice which is in God, or by which God is just, but that which is in man from God, and by his gifts. (lib. 3. cont. 2. ep. Pelag.)

Ver. 10. That I may know him. This knowledge of Christ the apostle prefers to all honours and advantages accruing from his adherence to the synagogue.


So, St Paul wishes to actually have the justice which is of God. Not to have it just imputed.

"Faith involves trusting solely in the promises of God and the finished work of Christ"

Romans 4:16 was the other reference.

6 As David also termeth the blessedness of a man, to whom God reputeth justice without works:

Sorry, that one was 4:6. Its sequel says sth about non-imputation of sins - a negative justice imputated. We agree in that one. But what about the positive one which is of God? The one which we have, which St Paul wants to have?

16 Therefore it is of faith, that according to grace the promise might be firm to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

Ver. 16. There are two kinds of children of Abraham, to whom alone these promises are made; the one is according to the flesh, the other according to the spirit. The former of these had no more part in the promises made to him and his seed than the Gentiles, unless they imitated the fidelity and obedience of their father. (Calmet) --- It is in this sense of spiritual father, that the [Catholic] priest at the altar, speaking in the name of the faithful, calls Abraham our patriarch. (Estius)


This is not about imputed only justice, but about why Law of Moses is not a necessity.

Hebrews 11:6

6 But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him.

Ver. 6. He proves the Henoch[Enoch] was translated by faith, or on account of faith, thus: Henoch was translated because he pleased God; now he could not please God but by faith; therefore by faith he was translated. (Menochius)


So, faith is our first duty. It involves a reward of one good action : seeking God.

"Luther expressed it thus: 'He [Christ] died for me, He made His righteousness mine, and made my sin His own; and if he made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.' Describing this culmination of his spiritual journey, as the burden of his sin lifted, Luther wrote: 'All at once I felt that I had been born again and entered into paradise itself through open gates.' For the first time in his life, he experienced the assurance of salvation and peace with God that only Jesus can give (Hebrews 2:14-15; 9:14)."

Is Jesus giving each individual a complete assurance of Salvation?

2:14 Forasmuch then as the children were partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same: that, *through death, he might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil:

15 And might deliver them, who, through the fear of death, were all their lifetime subject to slavery.

Ver. 14. That, through death, he might destroy the power of him who had the empire of death, who, by tempting men to sin, had made them slaves to him and to eternal death; so that they lived always slaves to the devil, under a miserable fear of death, and liable to eternal death. (Witham)

Ver. 15. The devil, by exciting men to sin, made them liable to a temporal and eternal death; he was, therefore, the prince of death, both as to soul and body. Jesus Christ, the life and source of life, has by his death destroyed sin and vanquished the devil; he has, at once, triumphed over the prince of death, and death itself; and by the assurance which he has given us of eternal life, has delivered us from the terrible apprehensions of dying. To a good Christian, death is the termination of misery and the beginning of eternal happiness; why, therefore, should we be afraid to die? We ought rather, with St. Paul, to say: I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ.


9:13 *For if the blood of goats and of oxen, and the ashes of a heifer, being sprinkled, sanctify such as are defiled, to the cleansing of the flesh:

14 *How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the Holy Ghost, offered himself without spot to God, cleanse our conscience from dead works, to serve the living God?

Ver. 13-14. For if the blood of goats, &c. Another main difference betwixt the sacrifices in the old, and that of Christ in the new law. Those imperfect carnal sacrifices could only make the priests and the people reputed clean, so that they were no longer to be treated as transgressors, and liable to punishments, prescribed and inflicted by the law: but the sacrifice of Christ has made our consciences interiorly clean, and sanctified them even in the sight of God. Having offered himself unspotted to God by the Holy Ghost, the divine Spirit of the Holy Ghost moving Christ as man to make this oblation of himself, though free from all sin, and incapable of sinning. And being this oblation, made by him, who was God as well as man, it was an oblation of infinite value, which repaired the injury done to God by sin, and redeemed mankind from the slavery of sin. (Witham) --- Here we have an abstract of the passion of Jesus Christ, or of the sacrifice of the cross. We see who is the priest, and who is the victim; we see the virtue and efficacy of this sacrifice, and why it was offered; also by what signs we may know whether we partake of it, viz. if dying to sin and to the world, we live to God, and serve him in spirit and truth. Calvin makes Jesus Christ a priest and mediator, according to his divinity; but in that case Christ would be inferior to his Father, not only as man, but according to his divinity: for the priest is inferior to the God to whom he offers sacrifice, which is an expression of supreme excellence. See Dr. Kellison's survey of the Protestant religion.


"Luther had discovered that the biblical text from the Latin Vulgate, used to support the sacrament of penance, involved a mistranslation. St Jerome’s Latin translation of Christ’s command in Matthew 4:17 reads: 'Do penance (paenitentiam agite), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.' But the Erasmus Greek translation says: “Μετανοεῖτε (metanoeite), meaning ‘repent’ or ‘change your mind’. That is, God demands a changed heart and mind, not the doing of deeds. ‘To do penance’ and ‘to repent’ are two different things, and thus doing penance is not what this passage teaches."

To do penances is a different thing from doing penance.

Doing penance, we do by recollecting and repenting sins, and bringing them to God through the priest. Doing penances we do over and above satisfaction, and we do it according to the penances imposed by the priest.

4:17 *From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Ver. 17. Jesus began not to preach till St. John had announced his coming to the world, that the dignity of his sacred person might thus be manifested, and the incredulous Jews be without excuse. If after the preaching of St. John, and his express testimony of the divinity of our Redeemer, they could still say: thou givest testimony of thyself; thy testimony is not true: what would they not have said, if, without any precursor, he had, all on a sudden, appeared amongst them. He did not begin to preach till St. John was cast into prison, that the people might not be divided. On this account also St. John wrought no miracle, that the people might be struck with the miracles of our Saviour, and yield their assent to him. (St. Chrysostom, hom. 14.) --- It may here be remarked, how different were the motives of the prophets from those which the baptist and Christ made use of to exhort to repentance. The former menaced evil, and held out a promise of good, but the good or evil was temporal. St. John begins his exhortations with the threat of eternal punishments---but Christ sweetens the hardships of penance by reminding us of the reward. "The kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Jansenius)


"He defended marriage of the clergy on the grounds that Genesis 2:18 was 'the Word of God by virtue of which … the passionate natural inclination towards women is created and maintained. It may not be prevented by vow and law. For it is God’s Word and work.'"

This is behind the wrong in the Nashville declaration, saying marriage is God's will for each and all.

2:18 And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.

Nevertheless, Jesus was alone, and so was Jeremias. He may have been counted as married so his widow could give him a son through levirate, but he was living alone.

In this sense, clergy can follow the higher example. If Pope Michael is the true Pope, priesthood is no longer reserved even in Latin rite for those who do so, but once this vow has been finally made, it must also be kept.

Now, to a new part by Russell Grigg:

Luther’s Legacy
by Russell Grigg, Published: 10 October 2017
https://creation.com/luthers-legacy


"Salvation is the gift of God, acquired through faith alone, received through God’s grace alone, (Ephesians 2:8–9; 2 Timothy 1:9), because of Christ alone."

8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: for it is the gift of God;

9 Not of works, that no man may glory.

Before looking at the comment : not OF works, but also not so as to live thereafter WITHOUT them either. Not of works, but to works, as far as Salvation begins in this life. Here is the comment:

Ver. 8. Faith is the beginning, foundation, and root of justification, and the first of all other virtues, without which it is impossible to please God. (Bristow)

Ver. 9. Not of works, as of our own growth, or from ourselves: but as from the grace of God. (Challoner)


I did not see any "faith alone", as if for instance Sacraments are not required to bring someone from a state of sin to a state of grace, normally.

I did see "through faith", and never without it.

"was not only necessary but was also both complete and sufficient to pay the total penalty for our sins and thereby discharge our sin-debt to God in full (Hebrews 7:25)."

If someone who refuses to believe is not saved, is it because Christ's death was not sufficient? No, but because he is not abiding on the terms by which it gives him life. Now, remitting the sin debt in full is done once : when you are baptised (unless you pose an obstacle). If we sin after baptism, we can still come back again, for any sin which leaves us any room to real and efficient repentance (a successful suicide by gunshot for instance does not give one time, taking the mark of the beast may well take away one's freedom).

But this second (or these many second) takings away of our sin-debt usually does involve some remaining duties on our part.

7:25 Whereby he is able also to save for ever them that approach to God by himself: always living to make intercession for us.

Ver. 25. Make intercession. Christ, as man, continually maketh intercession for us, by representing his passion to his Father. (Challoner)


The Confraternity Bible does not have "able also to save for ever", but "able at all times to save".

Latin has:

"salvare in perpetuum potest"

And you can parse it either way.

salvare in perpetuum | potest
He is able to save-for-ever.

salveare | in perpetuum potest
He is for ever able to save = He is at all times able to save.

Greek has:

καὶ σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς δύναται

Which can also be parsed either way, since in Greek as in Latin, the normal place for an adverbial in relation to an infinitive is after, in relation to a finite verb before, however, less strongly so in Greek:

καὶ | σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς | δύναται
"also, He is able to save-into-complete, entire, perfect, through all time" (Strong 3838)

καὶ | σῴζειν | εἰς τὸ παντελὲς δύναται
"also, He is able into-complete, entire, perfect, through all time to save" (dito)

Obviously, the words after δύναται are direct object to σῴζειν. Some Grecist better than I (how about giving me some slack, since I left off Greek in 1992!) would be better positioned than I to know if the word position is possible either way or favours one of the meanings.

However, we are not just at the mercy of diverse views of Greek syntax. We must take into account it is a Biblical teaching some do loose their salvation and need to get it back - and some even can't.

This is the drama which Luther sooner or later imagined or made others imagine was just a "Papist scare".

Note also very well, that residual duties after remission of sins are not against "σῴζειν εἰς τὸ παντελὲς" : a man who must fast on earth or who must go through Purgatory is already totally saved. He is, as long as he sins no more, in no risk of Hell, and those who are in Purgatory cannot risk Hell again, unless someone were to be resuscitated : but this God more usually does with people either firmly hoping to retain salvation, as having tasted it (St Lazarus had been in the bosom of Abraham) or with those who very seldom get a second chance after having been in Hell.

"This is the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3–4), and there is none other that saves (Acts 4:12; Galatians 1:8)."

In the context of this panegyric over Luther, this sounds like a kind of rejection of the Catholic doctrine being thus buttressed by the Bible.

15:1 Now *I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand,

2 By which also you are saved: if you hold fast after what manner I preached to you, unless you have believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you first of all, which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, *according to the Scriptures:

4 *And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures:

Oh, wait ... 1 Cor 1 - 4 is not about "faith not works", as in Luther's polemics against the Catholic Church, but about faith in resurrection needing to be kept inviolate, orthodox. Indeed, it is paramount : but other, less paramount things also need to be kept inviolate, orthodox.

Here are two general comments on the chapter:

This chapter is addressed to some among the Corinthians who denied the resurrection: St. Paul, therefore, in order to cure this philosophical opinion, gives them his counsel and advice in this chapter; and lest he might be thought to preach up a new doctrine, in the beginning of his admonitions he informs them that he is preaching no other gospel than what he has always taught, and wherein they believe. (Estius)


And Confraternity Bible:

Christ's resurrection was difficult for pagans to believe. When the Athenians heard it some began to sneer (Act 17, 32); Festus thought Paul mad when he spoke of it (Acts 26, 24). At Corinth some questioned the fact of our resurrection, others also the resurrection of Christ (12).


It also has a comment on verses 1 and 4:

1. Being saved: the process is continual from the first grace through perseverance to glory. 4. According to the Scriptures: Christ's death is foretold in Isa. 53, 4-9; His burial and resurrection in Isa. 53, 9; Pss. 6, 3; 15, 10; Jonas 2, 1 f (cf. Matt. 12, 40).


Acts 4:12

12 Nor is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name, under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved.

Salvation by Christ, not by the Old Law. If you look at the context.

Confraternity Bible has this comment:

8-12. Answering the assembled Sanhedrin, St. Peter again touches on the chief points in his previous discourses, insisting on Christ's crucifixion and resurrection and His present power and glory; salvation is to be found only in Him, not in the Jewish Law.


Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an Angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.

Note, St Paul does not say "besides that which I have written", but "besides that which we have preached to you". In other words, all of the Apostolic Tradition needs to be kept inviolate. Any heretic, be it against an express proof text or against a general part of the Church's lore, is, in the terms of St Paul, anathema.

In context of previous verse, this is clearly in this context about Judaisers. People claiming that keeping the Ritual Law is required for Salvation.

Here is a comment on same with both surrounding verses, from Confraternity Bible:

7. Which is not another gospel: there is only one gospel of Christ, while the Judaizers were preaching among the Galatians serious doctrinal errors as if they were the gospel. 8. Anathema: cursed, excluded from the kingdom of God. 9. St. Paul reminds the Galatians of the warning he and his companions had given them before, possibly on his second visit, against false teachers.


Hmmmm ... against false teachers? All of them, not just in this particular context?

9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema!

But obviously, St Paul had said other words in preaching the Gospel than just that justice by Christ replaces justice by the Jewish law. So, in a sense someone might pretend to say the opposite of these Judaisers and also be anathema. Like, if Luther really preached the Gospel he had received from the Church of Christ, how come he was so advers against the Epistle of St James?

Luther: “The second step is this: If you want to be saved, your salvation does not come by works; but God has sent His only Son into the world that we might live through Him. He was crucified and died for you and bore your sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24)."

Is 1 Peter 2:24 saying this second step?

24 *Who his ownself bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed.

Wait ... it says something about us being dead to sins. And living to justice. It says works.

24. He suffered for us. By his stripes you were healed: the scourging, so well known to slaves.


But the healing needs to be applied.

"God has purposed that we do not merit His grace by anything we do (Galatians 2:16; 3:3)."

Before looking at text : by anything we do of ourselves, by anything we do without already being in grace. True.

If you come to confession with insufficient repentance to be already justified, it is in confession that God gives you the repentance you need. And if your repentance was already sufficient, you still need to go and to take it as a gift : from God, though His Church. Now for the texts:

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.

Now, Galatians 2:16 does not even bother about this part, what I mentioned or else what Grigg imagines, it only reaffirms we are not saved by Judaising.

Works of the law is a technical term, it is not equivalent to good works, it is not equivalent to works of penance, it is not equivalent to works of mercy, it is not equivalent to keeping the commandments, all of which are required.

Works of the law are things like keeping the Hebrew Sabbath, like eating Seder on the even of 14th of Nisan, and these things.

Ver. 16. &c. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law. St. Paul, to the end of the chapter, seems to continue his discourse to St. Peter, but chiefly to the Jewish Galatians, to shew that both the Gentiles, whom the Jews called and looked upon as sinners, and also the Jews, when converted, could only hope to be justified and saved by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law. --- But if while we seek to be justified in Christ, by faith in him, and by his grace, we ourselves also are found sinners, as the false doctors teach you, and not to be justified but by the ceremonies and works of the law of Moses, this blasphemous consequence must follow, that Christ is the minister and author of sin, by making us believe that by faith in him, and complying with his doctrine, we may be justified and saved. For thus we must be considered transgressors, unless we renew and build again what Christ and we have destroyed. --- For by the law I am dead to the law. That is, says St. Jerome, by the evangelical law of Christ I am dead to the ancient law and its ceremonies. Others expound it, that by the law and its types and figures, and by the predictions contained in the law, I know the Mosaical law hath now ceased, in which sense he might say, by the law I am dead to the law. --- If justice. That is, if justification and salvation be to be had, or could have been had by the works of the law; therefore Christ died in vain, and it was not necessary that he should become our Redeemer. (Witham)


Note very well, in the following, what I took up spontaneously is there : a work needs to be done in a state of grace (i e not by my sole carnal initiative, but by Christ living in me) in order to merit before God. He says so in verse 20, and in verse 18 mentions it is possible and very regrettable to sin after receiving grace. Mortally, that is. A venial sin does not amount to building up what one tears down in penance.

Ver. 19. He here expresses the change which had been wrought in him. The law to which he had been attached, had passed away from him. Now he was so united to Christ and his cross, that he says: Not I, but Christ liveth in me. The strong expressions made use of by St. Paul with regard to the Jewish law in this chapter, may appear strange, and very capable of a wrong interpretation. But we must ever bear in mind that St. Paul speaks exclusively of the ceremonial part of the law, and not of the moral, contained in the decalogue: of this latter he says in his epistle to the Romans, (ii. 13.) the doers of the law shall be justified. But to effect this, was and is necessary the grace which Jesus Christ has merited and obtained for all, grace which God has shed on all, more or less, from the commencement of the world.


Confraternity Bible has this comment:

16. The precepts of the Mosaic Law were ceremonial, such as circumcision, and moral, such as the Commandments. The Judaizers insisted on the observance of the ceremonial precepts or works. Such prescriptions of themselves had no power to save, as salvation depends on faith in Christ.


This distinction should be kept in mind in the next passage:

3:1 O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you?

2 This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

3 Are you so foolish, that, whereas you began in the spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh?

Ver. 1. Before whose eyes Jesus Christ....crucified among you.[1] The common exposition is, that St. Paul had before described and set before them Christ crucified. Others, that it had been clearly foretold by the prophets that Christ was crucified for them. (Witham)

Ver. 2. Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law? As if he said, you esteem it a great favour to have received those spiritual gifts of working miracles, &c. When you were made Christians, had you these favours by the works of the law, or was it not by the hearing of faith, and by the faith of Christ, that you had such extraordinary graces? and when you have begun thus happily by the spirit of Christ and his spiritual gifts, are you for finishing and thinking to make yourselves more perfect by the exterior works of the law, the circumcision of the flesh, and such like ceremonies? (Witham)


And Confraternity Bible:

1. Who has bewitched you: as if by an evil eye. Through Paul's teaching Jesus Christ crucified was made to appear before their eyes as if actually existing in the flesh. some Vulgate codices and the Clementine edition after bewitched you add "that you should not obey the truth." 2. They had received the Holy Spirit with His sanctifying grace and His special gifts through Paul's preaching, and their believing in Christ crucified. 3. Are you so foolish, that beginning your salvation by the reception of the Holy Spirit you seek the completion of it in the carnal ceremonies of the Mosaic Law (the flesh)?


So, supposing that the Catholic Church into which Luther was received by baptism was no longer the Church of Our Lord Jesus, the Church wherein ministered St Paul, supposing Luther were right on Galatians condemning Catholicism like Judaisers, one could ask: who has bewitched us Catholics?

In the case of the Galatians, the Bible does not tell, perhaps some Church historian does. It does not matter, as I suppose, since Galatians took heed of St Paul's word. And that very quickly.

But supposing we Catholics had for centuries been mishearing St Paul, not just Luther himself during a few failed attempts at living as a monk, supposing we had merited St Paul's charge?

If so, who had bewitched us? A man who made a deal with the devil to be called "Pope" as in Jack Chick's The Death Cookie?

Jack Chick does not dare name which Pope he considers to be the first Antichrist (unlike Sedes who will debate whether John XXIII as false Pope came after Pius XII as true Pope and so on : the range is not very wide, and "John Paul II" can no longer be a Pope, while St Pius X very certainly was). Some may say it doesn't matter. It does. A several centuries long misdemeanour, it does not happen without someone responsible for it. Even for Paganism in general, while it is difficult to trace the roots of each individual Paganism fully, both for better and for worse, the general misdemeanor is brought down to either Nimrod or Ninus.

We Catholics dare name Luther, Zwingli and Oecolampadius, Sozzinis and Münzer as origins of the misdemeanours of the Reformation and its daughters. St Paul by his question does not suggest that this is idle curiosity. On the contrary, if you know the witch or warlock, you may know the spell, if you know the spell, you may know the exorcism. So, supposing we really and truly were lapsed, who made us lapse? Not speaking of the Vatican II lapse, now. I am speaking of the one you try to trace, by considering Luther as taking the role of St Paul.

If and when you get to grips with who bewitched us, on your view, next question would be what was his spell? At what time was it a novum?

For Luther and a few more, the forbidden words, the evil spell, are given in both Exsurge Domine and in the divers sessions of the Council of Trent. If you ask us. And we identify Luther and a few more as authors of, inter alia, confusing "works of the law" with "good works".

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St. Francis Borgia SJ
10.X.2017

onsdag 4 oktober 2017

What Luther Got Wrong More (pt 2 of series)


Today, on St Francis' day, I will link to Russell Grigg's article, because I answer more fully.

Martin Luther: the monk who shook the world
by Russell Grigg, Published: 3 October 2017 (GMT+10)
https://creation.com/martin-luther-shook-world


Now, to some passages, which I will answer. Here is first a jumble of good and bad, from Russell Grigg:

"The Church of that day taught that good works were a necessary part of salvation. This involved people participating in sacraments, doing penance, praying to deceased saints and/or worshipping their relics, going on pilgrimages to holy places, buying indulgences, and (most effective of all) withdrawing from the world to the ascetic life of a monastery to escape the sins of the world."


And, this jumble needs breaking down and detailed answers.

"The Church of that day taught that good works were a necessary part of salvation."

Yes. So does the Church now, so did Our Lord and St James.

"This involved people participating in sacraments,"

Which were instituted by Christ. Note John 3 for necessity of Baptism. Proof texts for all sacraments in Gospels, Acts and Epistles.

"doing penance,"

Which is recommended all over the Bible.

"praying to deceased saints and/or worshipping their relics,"

Honouring, not worshipping. Relics are recommended in the Bible, e g body of Elisaeus and handkerchiefs having touched the clothes of Sts Paul and Barnabas (I think the other one was). The garment of Our Lord is of course also a relic, it cured one woman who had faith - in relics.

The rich man prayed to a deceased saint. The reasons he was not granted either request had nothing to do with the saint not being able to intercede for anyone, but the rich man was already damned (the gulf between Hell proper and Bosom of Abraham or limbus Patrum in Sheol - those souls being now in Heaven), and his brothers were already impenitent, on their way to damnation : they correspond extremely well to the general description of Pharisees (having Moses and the Prophets and not believing them, hence not going to believe if a dead man rose from Sheol and the grave either), and if the poor Lazarus was the same as the four days dead one, this was a very exact prediction of how Pharisees behaved when he was himself raised for the conforting of his sister.

The relics we do worship are those of Our Lord : cross, crown of thorns, lance, shroud, shirt.

"going on pilgrimages to holy places,"

Yes, recommended in the Bible, like the pilgrimage made by the wise men to Bethlehem, by Naaman to Jordan and to Elisaeus, and every year up to year 70, most famously Holy Family when Our Lord was twelve years, and many of the Jews converting on Pentecost day, to the Temple in Jerusalem. Not to mention that God made Abraham a pilgrim, as well as making the people of Israel such for forty years between Egypt and Holy Land.

"buying indulgences,"

False. Indulgences are not bought or sold. One can speak improperly of buying an indulgence, as one can speak of buying a pearl of great price. But indulgences are for :

  • acts of prayer
  • acts of fasting (a pilgrimage counts as prayer and fasting in combination)
  • acts of almsgiving (recommended as indulgenced acts in the case of feeding poor on the funeral of someone, in order to win an indulgence for him, in the book of Tobit).


It was one specific form of almsgiving which was misnamed "buying indulgences".

"and (most effective of all) withdrawing from the world to the ascetic life of a monastery to escape the sins of the world."

It is most effective, but it is not needed for everyone - only that those who do so persist. As mentioned yesterday, I am not under such a vow, and I don't think I need to make one either to be saved.

For some, making such a vow is indeed the last chance to escape damnation, for many more it is more simply the call of a loving father : yesterday I mentioned St Therese "of Lisieux" or "of the Child Jesus" (her locality of Carmel, her "title of nobility" within Carmel). Today we celebrate St Francis of Assisi.

"All this caused Martin to despair of ever being able to do enough to satisfy God, and to fear God’s future judgment."

Was it that, or keeping commandments, like the specifications given in Matthew 5? Was he even, documentedly, in despair about his salvation all through his youth?

"However, that year a lightning bolt struck near him during a fierce storm. In dread of sudden death and the imminent prospect of divine judgment, he cried out in terror to his father’s saint, Saint Anna, promising to become a monk if he survived."

Note very well that good Catholic theologians told him he did not owe the Grandmother of God to become a monk if he did not feel inclined. It was his personal bent of a certain exactitude perhaps, or perhaps overestimation of his responsibility in that moment (that would be a very common opinion among Catholic clergy today), which drove him to the monastery. NOT Catholic Church men telling him he absolutely had to after doing such a promise.

"Here he engaged in long hours of prayer, fasting, whipping himself, and prolonged daily confessions of sin, but none of this brought him the peace with God he was seeking."

Long hours of prayer and fasting are part of what monasticism is about. Like vigils. St Jerome had something to say about one Vigilantius who was not a friend of vigils (and St Jerome nicknamed him "dormitantius" : sleepy instead of wakeful). He probably quoted St Peter's wake and pray (I have not read St Jerome's contra Vigilantium, I only looked it up when a "Berean Beacon" apostate Irish priest considered Vigilantius as part of the "Apostolic succession" - in reality non-extant, at least in documented reality - from "Ambrose" to Valdensians), and he probably mentioned something about the disciples of Gethsemane.

Whipping oneself is a somewhat harsh, but a sometimes effective way of dealing with temptations of the flesh. St Francis used it, I think - he certainly used a hair shirt, like St John the Baptist.

Prolonged daily confession of sins? My experience with confession is, a father confessor considers a prolonged confession even if once a week or rarer a nighmare : confession is not to raise unnecessary doubts, is not to tell stories, but to tell succinctly how one has sinned, especially mortally, and in cases one has avoided mortal sins since last confession, one must either be careful to really repent of a venial one, or one must confess an older mortal one which one truly repents of.

But someone who shilly shallies over whether he really has the good intention or not, and whether last confession was valid or a sacrilege, well, that is a real nightmare to a priest. If he put someone through that on a daily basis, perhaps that priest actually did in his heart hope for his damnation rather than more and more and more of this nightmare.

"He later remarked: 'If anyone could have gained heaven as a monk, then I would indeed have been among them. … I lost hold of Christ the Saviour and comforter and made of him a stock-master and hangman over my poor soul.' "

While Our Lord is not exactly hangman, He is judge. And losing hold of Christ as Saviour is not the least commendable for someone trying to save one's soul in any way, whether as monk or as married man or as single in the world.

He judges with mildness in the confessional, through the priest who has, through REAL apostolic succession (not the faked one of Valdensians or Albigensians) inherited the power of forgiveness Christ on the even of Easter Sunday gave His eleven Apostles. One day, He will judge otherwise, for those voluntarily not availing themselves of confession. But for now, confession is there:

John 20:[21] He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. [22] When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. [23] Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.

John twenty, twenty-one, -two, -three. Is the reference simple enough? I quoted from a Douay Rheims with Challoner comments, and there is one to verse 23:

[23] "Whose sins": See here the commission, stamped by the broad seal of heaven, by virtue of which the pastors of Christ's church absolve repenting sinners upon their confession.

A very broad seal indeed. Here is Exsurge Domine, last words of introduction, followed by first error of Luther:

"In virtue of our pastoral office committed to us by the divine favor we can under no circumstances tolerate or overlook any longer the pernicious poison of the above errors without disgrace to the Christian religion and injury to orthodox faith. Some of these errors we have decided to include in the present document; their substance is as follows:

"1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle."

Well, if perhaps daily prolonged confessions were not winning Luther pardoning grace, perhaps it is because he set up an obstacle?

"8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed."

Well, not only was Luther wrong (both on history and on the principle), but one can nearly hear the confessor he had been going to shouting to him "YOU (brother Martin) stop confessing venial sins NOW!" And Luther missing the personal part, and erecting it to a common and general principle. One can of course ask, if he had pestered his father confessor so much as to make him useless and pernicious, was he STILL obliged to confess to him? Especially if my imagination is wrong, if the father confessor actually misinformed him so as to be spared some of the prolonged confessions. But a man being for such reasons absolved from the common duty of confessing of course does not mean everyone else is.

"9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God’s mercy for pardon."

One can consider it could have been a very true remark of a father confessor to him to tell him "as long as YOU want to" etc. But there are clearly other situations, and a generous will to confess all sins without exception, either effectually, or, conditionally if it were possible, is something which the Pope had to safeguard against Luther's turning the very personal and rare admonitions of his father confessor (as I suppose he did) into a general principle.

It is not something to be thrown out along with Luther's prolonged daily confessions.

"10. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness."

On the second one, I imagine his father confessor misinformed him, on occasion, so as to be spared being asked next day "was my sin really forgiven yesterday?!" Or, rereading, on the whole. What I was thinking of was another error. Or, if he was not misinformed, the priest might have tried to explain something which he misunderstood.

"12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, or the priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved."

Do we overhear Luther conforting himself against the fear he had so pestered the father confessor that this father confessor had no real wish left to save his soul by absolution?

Do we, for the first part, overhear a confessor telling him "if, by an impossibility, you were not contrite, if you believe you were absolved, you were"? There are some confessors who will find it impossible that a man so anxious for his soul was not contrite. Hence someone might have begun a consolation of The Hysteric in the Augustinian Convent with "if, by an impossibility, you were not contrite". And the other part would obviously fit the desire for some peace and quiet of a confessor. Hence, I think it is possible to overhear this. Or, more seriously and less "thought reading", to probably interpret this.

"14. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire."

Why?

St Matthew and Zacchaeus answered Christ, they were contrite of the economic fraud, which was arguably a mortal sin. Sorry, checked, Saint Zacchaeus : Apostle Zacchaeus? For the moment, I find no Catholic source. In the Latin rite, he is not April 20. Either way, both answered Our Lord that they were contrite. As did the peintent woman, usually identified with St Mary Magdalene.

"In 1510, Luther visited Rome. Here, in the Church of St John Lateran, there is a 28-step marble staircase that Jesus allegedly climbed at the palace of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem.5 According to Roman Catholic teaching (then and now), pilgrims ascending these ‘holy stairs’ (scala sancta) in an appropriate manner procure an indulgence for themselves or for some deceased person(s) to reduce the time their souls spend in purgatory6 after death as punishment for their sins.7

"Luther climbed the stairs to obtain this benefit for his dead grandfather. Two memoirs survive concerning this event:

  • 1.At the top he is reputed to have said to himself, “Who knows if it is really true?”,8 a concern which became the basis for his future evaluation of church doctrine.
  • 2.Many years later, Luther’s son, Paul, reported that in 1544 his father told him that as he climbed the stairs the Bible verse flashed into his mind: “The just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4).


"Luther was aware of Psalm 22, and that Christ on the Cross had quoted v. 1, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” As he pondered why Christ felt this, Luther realized that it was because Christ was bearing his—Luther’s own—sin on the Cross. And he came to see that God gives forgiveness to those who repent of their sins, because Christ, the Perfect Substitute, paid the full penalty for sin by dying on the Cross and rising again."


It is very possible, that realisation was a first fruit of the indulgence he had won.

And the just living by his faith has some implication for the scala sancta:

  • It is likely - despite Valla drawing much into doubt - that the Church was perfectly right about St Helen bringing the Holy Stairs to Rome. We ought not gratuitously to doubt this.
  • It is also likely, if by any chance the Church had been wrong in so considering the stairs in question, that by the indulgence granted by the Church nevertheless the full indulgence is given, for the pious attempt, even if it had been misplaced (I don't think it was) to walk on the stairs where God had walked before the unjust Pilate.


"Likewise, he came to see that God gives righteousness to believers by imputing (crediting) the perfect righteousness of His own Son, Jesus Christ, to them (2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9).11 Faith involves trusting solely in the promises of God and the finished work of Christ (Romans 4:16; Hebrews 11:6)."


God gives righteousness. Sure. But as a legal only imputation, or as a life principle? Would the proof texts here really prove a legal only imputation?

II Corinthians 5:

19 For God indeed was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins, and he hath placed in us the word of reconciliation.

20 We are, therefore, ambassadors for Christ, God as it were exhorting by us. For Christ, we beseech you, be ye reconciled to God.

21 Him, who knew no sin, he hath made sin for us, that we might be made the justice of God in him.

Haydock comment:

Ver. 19. Not imputing, i.e. truly taking away our sins, blotting out the handwriting of the decree which was against us,...fastening it to the cross, as it is said, Colossians ii. 14. And to us, who are his apostles and the ministers of his gospel, he hath imparted and committed this word of reconciliation, by the preaching of his doctrine, and the administration of his sacraments, &c. In these functions we act and we speak to you as the ambassadors of Christ; we speak to you in his name, we represent his person, when we exhort you to be reconciled to God. "He that heareth you, heareth me." (Luke x. 16.) (Witham)

Ver. 20. Be not deaf to this voice, harden not your hearts, suffer yourselves to be moved to the charity of God: it is immense, it is infinite. (Bible de Vence)

Ver. 21. Him (Christ) who knew no sin, (who had never sinned, nor was capable of sinning) he (God) hath made [4] sin for us. I had translated, with some French translators, he hath made a sacrifice for sin, as it is expounded by St. Augustine and many others, and grounded upon the authority of the Scriptures, in which the sacrifices for sins are divers times called sins, as Osee iv. 8. and in several places in Leviticus, by the Hebrew word Chattat, which signifies a sin, and is translated a victim for sin. But as this is not the only interpretation, and that my design is always a literal translation of the text, not a paraphrase, upon second thoughts I judged it better to follow the very words of the Greek, as well as of the Latin text. For besides the exposition already mentioned, others expound these words, him he hath made sin for us, to signify that he made Christ like unto sinners, a mortal man, with the similitude of sin. Others that he made he reputed a sinner; with the wicked was he reputed; (Mark xv. 28.) God having laid upon him all our iniquities. (Isaias liii. 6.) --- That we might be made the justice of God in him; that is, that we might be justified and sanctified by God's sanctifying grace, and the justice we receive from him. (Witham) --- Sin for us. That is, to be a sin-offering, a victim for sin. (Challoner)

Own comment : there is a difference between our past sin no longer being imputed legally and our new justice (or that of those of us who are saved, for instance after a good confession) only being an imputed one. To Luther, this seems to have been obscured by his incapacity of seing sins as past. Or obsession of seeing sin as an allengulfing and never ending human condition.

Tomorrow, this may be continued, for now, I wish a blessed day of St Francis!

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris III
St Francis of Assisi
4.X.2017

Continue to: Was the Bible For or Against Luther's Work? (part 3 of series)

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.


And:

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
http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?13097-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:

BISMARCK AND THE FOUR GOSPELS
1870 - 1914
by Professor William R. Farmer
http://www.churchinhistory.org/pages/booklets/farmer%28n%29.htm


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
https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=3752


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
30.V.2017

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

Notes:

* 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"

Link
justforcatholics.org : The Apocrypha are Not Canonical
http://www.justforcatholics.org/a48.htm


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)

Answer
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?

Answer
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?

Answer
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)

Answer
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).

Answer
Here is book 18:

BOOKS OF THE MORALS OF ST. GREGORY THE POPE, BOOK XVIII.
http://www.lectionarycentral.com/GregoryMoralia/Book18.html


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).

Answer
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.

Answer
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.

Answer
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).

Answer
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).

Answer
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.

Answer
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.

Answer
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.

Answer
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.

Answer
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.

Answer
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.

Answer
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.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/106796406524496/
permalink/153826395154830/


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*
19.V.2017

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]
http://notontimsblogroundhere.blogspot.fr/2011/04/what-blooper-dan-barker-from-atheist.html


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
17.IV.2017

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