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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Where we got the bible

Where we got the bible

On the church settling the canon of the bible:

(i) Before the collection of New Testament books was finally settled at the Council of Carthage, 397, we find that there were three distinct classes into which the Christian writings were divided. This we know (and every scholar admits it) from the works of early Christian writers like Eusebius, Jerome, Epiphanius, and a whole host of others that we could name. These classes were (I) the books 'acknowledged' as Canonical, (2) books 'disputed' or 'controverted', (3) books declared 'spurious' or false. Now in class (I) i.e., those acknowledged by Christians everywhere to be genuine and authentic, and to have been written by Apostolic men, we find such books as the Four Gospels, 13 Epistles of St Paul, Acts of the Apostles. These were recognised east and west as 'Canonical', genuinely the works of the Apostles and Evangelists whose names they bore, worthy of being in the 'Canon' or sacred collection of inspired writings of the Church, and read aloud at Holy Mass. But there was (2) a class�and Protestants should particularly take notice of the fact, as it utterly undermines their Rule of Faith �the Bible and the Bible only'�of books that were disputed, controverted, in some places acknowledged, in others rejected; and among these we actually find the Epistle of St James, Epistle of St Jude, 2nd Epistle of St Peter; 2nd and 3rd of St John, Epistle to the Hebrews, and the Apocalypse of St John. There were doubts about these works; perhaps, it was said, they were not really written by Apostles, or Apostolic men, or by the men whose names they carried; in some parts of the Christian world they were suspected, though in others unhesitatingly received as genuine. There is no getting out of this fact, then: some of the books of our Bible which we, Catholic and Protestant alike, now recognise as inspired and as the written Word of God, were at one time, and indeed for long, viewed with suspicion, doubted, disputed, as not possessing the same authority as the others. (I am speaking only of the New Testament books; the same could be proved, if there were space, of the Old Testament; but the New Testament suffices abundantly for the argument.) But further still�what is even more striking, and is equally fatal to the Protestant theory�in this (2) class of 'controverted' and doubtful books some were to be found which are not now in our New Testament at all, but which were by many then considered to be inspired and Apostolic, or were actually read at the public worship of the Christians, or were used for instructions to the newly-converted; in short, ranked in some places as equal to the works of St James or St Peter or St Jude. Among these we may mention specially the 'Shepherd' of Hermas, Epistle of Barnabas, the Doctrine of the Twelve Apostles, Apostolic Constitutions, Gospel according to the Hebrews, St Paul's Epistle to the Laodiceans, Epistle of St Clement, and others. Why are these not in our Bible today? We shall see in a minute. Lastly (3) there was a class of books floating about before 397 A.D., which were never acknowledged as of any value in the Church, nor treated as having Apostolic authority, seeing that they were obviously spurious and false, full of absurd fables, superstitions, puerilities, and stories and miracles of Our Lord and His Apostles which made them a laughing-stock to the world. Of these some have survived, and we have them today, to let us see what stamp of writing they were; most have perished. But we know the names of about 50 Gospels (such as the Gospel of James, the Gospel of Thomas, and the like), about 22 Acts (like the Acts of Pilate, Acts of Paul and Thecla, and others), and a smaller number of Epistles and Apocalypses. These were condemned and rejected wholesale as 'Apocrypha'�that is, false, spurious, uncanonical.

(ii) This then being the state of matters, you can see at once what perplexity arose for the poor Christians in days of persecution, when they were required to surrender their sacred books. The Emperor Diocletian, for example, who inaugurated a terrible war against the Christians, issued an edict in 303 A.D. that all the churches should be razed to the ground and the Sacred Scriptures should be delivered up to the Pagan authorities to be burned. Well, the question was what was Sacred Scripture? If a Christian gave up an inspired writing to the Pagans to save his life, he thereby became an apostate: he denied his faith, he betrayed his Lord and God; he saved his life, indeed, but he lost his soul. Some did this and were called 'traditores', traitors, betrayers, 'deliverers up' (of the Scriptures). Most, however, preferred martyrdom, and refusing to surrender the inspired writings, suffered the death. But it was a most perplexing and harrowing question they had to decide�what really was Sacred Scripture? I am not bound to go to the stake for refusing to give up some 'spurious' Gospel or Epistle. Could I, then, safely give up some of the 'controverted' or disputed books, like the Epistle of St James, or the Hebrews, or the Shepherd of Hermas, or the Epistle of St Barnabas, or of St Clement? There is no need to be a martyr by mistake. And so the stress of persecution had the effect of making still more urgent the necessity of deciding once and for all what was to form the New Testament. What, definitely and precisely, were to be the books for which a Christian would be bound to lay down his life on pain of losing his soul?

(iii) Here, as I said before, comes in the Council of Carthage, 397 A.D., confirming and approving the decrees of a previous Council (Hippo, 393 A.D.) declaring, for all time to come, what was the exact collection of sacred writings thenceforth to be reckoned, to the exclusion of all others, as the inspired Scripture of the New Testament. That collection is precisely that which Catholics possess at this day in their Douai Bible. That decree of Carthage was never changed. It was sent to Rome for confirmation. As I have already remarked, a Council, even though not a general Council of the whole Catholic Church, may yet have its decrees made binding on the whole Church by the approval and will of the Pope. A second Council of Carthage over which St Augustine presided, in 419 A.D., renewed the decrees of the former one, and declared that its act was to be notified to Boniface, Bishop of Rome, for the purpose of confirming it. From that date all doubt ceased as to what was, and what was not 'spurious', or 'genuine', or 'doubtful' among the Christian writings then known. Rome had spoken. A Council of the Roman Catholic Church had settled it. You might hear a voice here or there, in East or West, in subsequent times, raking up some old doubt, or raising a question as to whether this or that book of the New Testament is really what it claims to be, or should be where it is. But it is a voice in the wilderness.

Rome had fixed the 'Canon' of the New Testa�ment. There are henceforward but two classes of books�inspired and not inspired. Within the covers of the New Testament all is inspired; all without, known or unknown, is uninspired. Under the guidance of the Holy Ghost the Council declared 'This is genuine, that is false'; 'this is Apostolic, that is not Apostolic'. She sifted, weighed, discussed, selected, rejected, and finally decided what was what. Here she rejected a writing that was once very popular and reckoned by many as inspired, and was actually read as Scripture at public service; there, again, she accepted another that was very much disputed and viewed with suspicion, and said: 'This is to go into the New Testament.' She had the evidence before her; she had tradition to help her; and above all she had the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to enable her to come to a right conclusion on so momentous a matter. And in fact, her con�clusion was received by all Christendom until the sixteenth century, when as we shall see, men arose rebelling against her decision and altering the Sacred Volume. But, at all events in regard to the New Testament, the Reformers left the books as they found them, and today their Testament contains exactly the same books as ours; and what I wish to drive home, is that they got these books from Rome, that without the Roman Catholic Church they would not have got them, and that the decrees of Carthage, 397 and 419 A.D., when all Christianity was Roman Catholic�reaffirmed by the Council of Florence, 1442, under Pope Eugenius IV, and the Council of Trent, 1546�these decrees of the Roman Church, and these only are the means and the channel and the authority which Almighty God has used to hand down to us His written Word. Who can deny it? The Church existed before the Bible; she made the Bible; she selected its books, and she preserved it. She handed it down; through her we know what is the Word of God, and what the word of man; and hence to try at this time of day, as many do, to overthrow the Church by means of this very Bible, and to put it above the Church, and to revile her for destroying it and corrupting it�what is this but to strike the mother that reared them; to curse the hand that fed them; to turn against their best friend and benefactor; and to repay with ingratitude and slander the very guide and protector who has led them to drink of the water out of the Saviour's fountains?

42 comments:

Kelly said...

Jennie wrote:

It was written down by the Apostles and disciples mainly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. Which were inspired books was well understood by the believers all along. You don't think they knew that Paul's works were inspired, and the gospels? The church finally listed them officially because many false books were appearing and they wanted to be sure it was clear which were inspired. There was not much disagreement overall which were inspired. Making an official list of what is already understood is different from deciding the canon.

You have the idea that Jesus formed the early church. After the Apostles died, everyone relied on Scripture, and everything was fine until the Middle Ages, when the Catholic Church ruined everything. In this timeline, Catholicism is the exception.

However, this does not stand up to the test of history. The book and letters of the New Testament were written in the 100 years after Jesus. Then we have the writings of the Early Church Fathers, who were usually passing along what they learned from the disciples. For example, Clement learned the faith from St. Peter, and Polycarp was taught by St. John. These are the very same men spoken of so highly in the Preface to the KJV by the translators.

But we still had the Bible to rely on during this time, right? After all, all the books were written. Just because they were written does not mean that every church suddenly had a full compilation.

At the time that Irenaeus wrote (120 AD), you could hear all four Gospels and two letters from Paul read in church. Plus the Martyrdom of Polycarp and Letters of Clement, while the letters of Peter and John were not considered canonical, nor was Hebrews or Revelation.

When Tertullian (180 AD) wrote (he was actually one of the first to use the phrase "New Testament"), you could hear the Gospels, Acts, most of the letters of Paul, one letter from Peter, one from John, Revelation and Jude, PLUS letters from Barnabas and Clement, the Didache, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter (since John's was so popular?), and the Acts of Paul.

What about that inspiration from the Holy Spirit that everyone automatically recognized? They thought these books were inspired, and read them in church.

Hebrews and James were not even quoted in the Western church until after 350, while the letters of Pope Clement continued to be included in the Bible through the fifth century!

Sure, we could probably live without Philemon, but how would ever get by without James or Hebrews? Why, this is the exact timeline we have for the belief in the Assumption of Mary!

Would a Christian in one of those churches have everything they need to attain salvation in one of those churches, hearing the Gospel of Mark, the Shepherd of Hermas, and not Hebrews?" That is what Christianity really looked like in that early time.

Barbara C. said...

Elena and Kelly rock!!

Clare said...

I was going to say that.

Jennie said...

Kelly,
A believer could apparently get along very well with the OT scriptures and knowing the gospel story. Jesus and Paul used the OT scriptures to show the gospel plan and to convince men of Jesus as Messiah. It is good to have all of them, and it is enough to have some of them. It would be interesting to have more of Paul's letters, etc. if we could know for sure they were his. Apparently it is God's will that we have what we have.

I don't believe the early Fathers who began to officially list the books of the canon were 'Roman' catholic.
I don't know if I can explain what I and others believe about church history. First of all, the early church was not Roman Catholic, nor has the entire church ever been Roman Catholic. I don't know who first began using the word 'catholic' but it just meant that they considered the church as universal and united. However, Rome was not the center of the church, nor was it even the ruler of the Western church for many years. There were several 'centers' corresponding to the major areas, such as Asia, Africa, and Europe. Each church had its own elders (bishops, presbyters, pastors) and it took time for a more complex system of government to arise. At first all elders or bishops were considered equals, as it should be, as the Lord taught.
Rome only gradually became prominent as the leader of the Western church, though all bishops were still considered equal. When Roman bishops later tried to assert authority universally, they caused division because this was not acceptable. This is very simplified, but is supportable by historical accounts, as has been shown by many, such as Philip Schaff (http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc5.i.html) and Gibbon, I believe.
The Church fathers were Catholic, not Roman Catholic. They had beliefs and practices that were different from Roman Catholic ones, and Roman Catholics have many beliefs and practices that the Fathers did not have or that go much further than the Fathers did on certain issues. Certainly the Fathers had beliefs and practices that protestants today do not have. They had already built up traditions that did not directly come from scripture, some of which are not anti-scriptural. Certainly things were lost when divisions occurred and time passed. Some of what was lost were traditions that are not necessary. I do believe we can learn from them, and from each other. However, maybe the fact that Christians who revere God's word as the final authority are offended by many Roman Catholic doctrines should be a sign that something is wrong. I don't believe we can 'go back'. I think the only way to unity is forward to more unity in scripture and less extra-biblical tradition. This is a very complicated issue, with many things that are hard to understand about the conflicts between us, and I can't just dismiss the differences and say its all OK now. I also don't believe this unity in truth is going to happen until possibly the tribulation when 'all that can be shaken will be shaken' and all that remains will be truth.

Moonshadow said...

There's just two things I would say.

First, this article in America by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal Kasper epitomizes for me how Christians argue. The minute I see Protestants argue amongst themselves with this degree of dignity and respect, I'll consider them. And what's more, the article touches on the matter Jennie brings up of local and universal church.

Second, and this is my own thought; I haven't read it anywhere: Jennie tends to see contention between (Roman) Catholic liturgy and the Letter to the Hebrews, although RC liturgists like Benedict see convergence. If liturgy is as ancient as many believe (watch video of LCMS ad orientem service in Tulsa) and if the Letter to the Hebrews was αντιλεγομένα ("disputed," even by Luther), it seems possible that the Mass is founded upon the Scripture at that time.

Certainly a church forming itself today upon Scripture as we now have it, as a whole, will look different ... and often does.

So, it may really be a question of striving for a biblical faith or an historic faith.

Jennie said...

Teresa,
First, this article in America by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal Kasper epitomizes for me how Christians argue. The minute I see Protestants argue amongst themselves with this degree of dignity and respect, I'll consider them.

Maybe the dignity has something to do with their very exalted and public positions in the church. Do Catholics never disagree and if they do are they always dignified?
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3440

Jennie said...

Teresa,
So, it may really be a question of striving for a biblical faith or an historic faith.
Do we have to pick one or the other? If so I pick biblical; but there is a historical church that was united in the pure gospel and the Holy Spirit, at the very beginning. Can't we pray and study and strive for that ideal?

Paul said...

Elena,
Please allow me to interact with some of the link from Fr. Graham.

First off:

Fr. Graham wrote:
Who can deny it? The Church existed before the Bible; she made the Bible;
she selected its books, and she preserved it. She handed it down; through
her we know what is the Word of God, and what the word of man; and hence
to try at this time of day, as many do, to overthrow the Church by means of
this very Bible, and to put it above the Church, and to revile her for
destroying it and corrupting it—what is this but to strike the mother that
reared them; to curse the hand that fed them; to turn against their best
friend and benefactor; and to repay with ingratitude and slander the very
guide and protector who has led them to drink of the water out of the
Saviour's fountains?



And yet several of the ECF's wrote :

Augustine (354-430): Strangely enough, by means of this people [i.e., the Jews], enemies of the Christian faith, proof has been furnished to the Gentiles as to how Christ was foretold, lest, perhaps, when the Gentiles had seen how manifestly the prophecies were fulfilled, they should think that the Scriptures were made up by the Christians, since things which they perceived as accomplished facts were read aloud as foretold about Christ. Therefore, the sacred books are handed down by the Jews and thus God, in regard to our enemies, makes clear to us that He did not kill them, that is, He did not annihilate them from the face of the earth so that they might not forget His law, for by reading it and by observing it, though only outwardly, they keep it in mind and thus bring judgment upon themselves and furnish testimony to us. FC, Vol. 38, Saint Augustine, Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons, Sermon 201, §3 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1959), pp. 70-71.

Paul said...

Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 200) Scripture to be interpreted by Scripture: If, therefore, according to the rule which I have stated, we leave some questions in the hands of God, we shall both preserve our faith uninjured, and shall continue without danger; and and all Scripture, which has been given to us by God, shall be found by us perfectly consistent; and the parables shall harmonize with those passages which are perfectly plain; and those statements the meaning of which is clear, shall serve to explain the parables; and through the many diversified utterances [of Scripture] there shall be heard one harmonious melody in us, praising in hymns that God who created all things. If, for instance, any one asks, “What was God doing before He made the world? ”we reply that the answer to such a question lies with God Himself. For that this world was formed perfect by God, receiving a beginning in time, the Scriptures teach us; but no Scripture reveals to us what God was employed about before this event The answer therefore to that question remains with God, and it is not proper for us to aim at bringing forward foolish, rash, and blasphemous suppositions [in reply to it]; so, as by one’s imagining that he has discovered the origin of matter, he should in reality set aside God Himself who made all things. ANF: Vol. I, Against Heresies, 2:28:3. (Unlike the Romanists, Irenaeus tells us that God, not the Church, gave us the Scriptures, and that if a matter concerning God is not revealed in Scripture, it is beyond the scope of extant revelation.)

Irenaeus (c. 130-c. 200): It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer in number than they are. For, since there are four zones of the world in which we live, and four principal winds, while the Church is scattered throughout all the world, , and the “pillar and ground” of the Church is the Gospel and the spirit of life; it is fitting that she should have four pillars, breathing out immortality on every side, and vivifying men afresh. From which fact, it is evident that the Word, the Artificer of all, He that sitteth upon the cherubim, and contains all things, , He who was manifested to men, has given us the Gospel under four aspects, but bound together by one Spirit. ANF: Vol. I, Against Heresies, Book 3:11:8.

Paul said...

Next, Fr. Graham writes:
"(I) THE point that we have arrived at now, if you remember, is this—The Catholic Church, through her Popes
and Councils, gathered together the separate books that Christians venerated which existed in different
parts of the world; sifted the chaff from the wheat, the false from the genuine; decisively and finally formed
a collection—i.e., drew up a list or catalogue of inspired and apostolic writings into which no other book
should ever be admitted, and declared that these and these only, were the Sacred Scriptures of the New
Testament. The authorities that were mainly responsible for thus settling and closing the 'Canon' of Holy
Scripture were the Councils of Hippo and of Carthage in the fourth century, under the influence of St.
Augustine (at the latter of which two Legatees were present from the Pope), and the Popes Innocent I in
405, and Gelasius, 494
, both of whom issued lists of Sacred Scripture identical with that fixed by the
Councils. From that date all through the centuries this was the Christian's Bible. The Church never admitted
any other; and at the Council of Florence in the fifteenth century, and the Council of Trent in the sixteenth,
and the Council of the Vatican in the nineteenth, she renewed her anathemas against all who should deny or
dispute this collection of books as the inspired word of God.
-------------------------
There are several issues I would like to address in this section.

This is fascinating, the author attributes the (ratifying) of Hippo's Canon to Pope Innocent I and Pope Gelasius. This is the same Gelasius that anathematized the apocryphal writings that first introduced the Bodily Assumption of Mary.
cont.

Paul said...

"The earliest extant discourse on the feast of the Dormition affirms that the assumption of Mary comes from the East at the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth century. The Transitus literature is highly significant as the origin of the assumption teaching and it is important that we understand the nature of these writings. The Roman Catholic Church would have us believe that this apocryphal work expressed an existing, common belief among the faithful with respect to Mary and that the Holy Spirit used it to bring more generally to the Church’s awareness the truth of Mary’s assumption. The historical evidence would suggest otherwise. The truth is that, as with the teaching of the immaculate conception, the Roman Church has embraced and is responsible for promoting teachings which originated, not with the faithful, but with heretical writings which were officially condemned by the early Church. History proves that when the Transitus teaching originated the Church regarded it as heresy. In 494 to 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius issued a decree entitled Decretum de Libris Canonicis Ecclesiasticis et Apocryphis. This decree officially set forth the writings which were considered to be canonical and those which were apocryphal and were to be rejected. He gives a list of apocryphal writings and makes the following statement regarding them:

The remaining writings which have been compiled or been recognised by heretics or schismatics the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church does not in any way receive; of these we have thought it right to cite below some which have been handed down and which are to be avoided by catholics (New Testament Apocrypha, Wilhelm Schneemelcher, ed. (Cambridge: James Clarke, 1991), p. 38).

In the list of apocryphal writings which are to be rejected Gelasius signifies the following work: Liber qui apellatur Transitus, id est Assumptio Sanctae Mariae, Apocryphus (Pope Gelasius 1, Epistle 42, Migne Series, M.P.L. vol. 59, Col. 162). This specifically means the Transitus writing of the assumption of Mary. At the end of the decree he states that this and all the other listed literature is heretical and that their authors and teachings and all who adhere to them are condemned and placed under eternal anathema which is indissoluble. And he places the Transitus literature in the same category as the heretics and writings of Arius, Simon Magus, Marcion, Apollinaris, Valentinus and Pelagius. These are his comments. I have provided two translations from authoritative sources:

These and the like, what Simon Magus, Nicolaus, Cerinthus, Marcion, Basilides, Ebion, Paul of Samosata, Photinus and Bonosus, who suffered from similar error, also Montanus with his detestable followers, Apollinaris, Valentinus the Manichaean, Faustus the African, Sabellius, Arius, Macedonius, Eunomius, Novatus, Sabbatius, Calistus, Donatus, Eustasius, Iovianus, Pelagius, Iulianus of ERclanum, Caelestius, Maximian, Priscillian from Spain, Nestorius of Constantinople, Maximus the Cynic, Lampetius,Dioscorus, Eutyches, Peter and the other Peter, of whom one besmirched Alexandria and the other Antioch, Acacius of Constantinople with his associates, and what also all disciples of heresy and of the heretics and schismatics, whose names we have scarcely preserved, have taught or compiled, we acknowledge is to be not merely rejected but excluded from the whole Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and with its authors and the adherents of its authors to be damned in the inextricable shackles of anathema forever" (New Testament Apocrypha, Wilhelm Schneemelcher, Ed., (Cambridge: James Clark, 1991).
source:
http://www.christiantruth.com/assumption.html

Paul said...

Then there is this claim:
The authorities that were mainly responsible for thus settling and closing the 'Canon' of Holy
Scripture were the Councils of Hippo and of Carthage in the fourth century, under the influence of St.
Augustine (at the latter of which two Legatees were present from the Pope), and the Popes Innocent I in
405, and Gelasius, 494, both of whom issued lists of Sacred Scripture identical with that fixed by the
Councils. From that date all through the centuries this was the Christian's Bible. The Church never admitted
any other; and at the Council of Florence in the fifteenth century, and the Council of Trent in the sixteenth,
and the Council of the Vatican in the nineteenth, she renewed her anathemas against all who should deny or
dispute this collection of books as the inspired word of God.


Now, this is a problem. The O.T Canon at Hippo/Carthage is "not" exactly the same as Trent.

The Historical Discrepancy between the Councils of Trent and Hippo/Carthage on the Canon
A Response to Gary Michuta
William Webster

In his debate with Gary Michuta on the canon and the Apocrypha James White brought up an important issue that reveals a discrepancy between the decrees of the North African Councils of Hippo/Carthage (AD 393/397) and the Council of Trent (AD 1546). This issue is important because Roman Catholic apologists have long asserted that the canon of Scripture was authoritatively and definitively defined for the Church by Hippo/Carthage in the 4th century AD. And yet the historical facts reveal that Trent rejected abook received by Hippo/Carthage thus manifesting a contradiction between the North African councils and Trent.
http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1875
Part 2 here:
http://aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=1876

Paul said...

Fr. Graham continues:
Therefore, I say that for
people to step in 1500 years after the Catholic Church had had possession of the Bible, and to pretend that it
is theirs, and that they alone know what the meaning of it is, and that the Scriptures alone, without the
voice of the Catholic Church explaining them, are intended by God to be the guide and rule of faith—this is
an absurd and groundless claim. Only those who are ignorant of the true history of the Sacred Scriptures
their origin and authorship and preservation—could pretend that there is any logic or commonsense in such
a mode of acting
. And the absurdity is magnified when it is remembered that the Protestants did not
appropriate the whole of the Catholic books, but actually cast out some from the collection, and took what
remained, and elevated these into a new 'Canon', or volume of Sacred Scripture, such as had never been
seen or heard of before, from the first to the sixteenth century, in any Church, either in Heaven above or on
earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth! Let us make good this charge.
-----------------------
There are also numerous historical inaccuracies here as well.

For example, he writes:
"And the absurdity is magnified when it is remembered that the Protestants did not
appropriate the whole of the Catholic books, but actually cast out some from the collection, and took what
remained, and elevated these into a new 'Canon', or volume of Sacred Scripture, such as had never been
seen or heard of before, from the first to the sixteenth century, in any Church"

Has he not studied early writers such as Jerome, Rufinus and Athanasius. How about Pope Gregory The Great who rejected the Deuterocanonical "free-standing" books. How about the great scholar Cardinal Cajetan who was dispatched by Pope Leo to investigate Luther?

http://www.christiantruth.com/Apocrypha3.html

Jennie said...

Paul, you quoted:
Augustine (354-430): Strangely enough, by means of this people [i.e., the Jews], enemies of the Christian faith, proof has been furnished to the Gentiles as to how Christ was foretold, lest, perhaps, when the Gentiles had seen how manifestly the prophecies were fulfilled, they should think that the Scriptures were made up by the Christians, since things which they perceived as accomplished facts were read aloud as foretold about Christ. Therefore, the sacred books are handed down by the Jews and thus God, in regard to our enemies, makes clear to us that He did not kill them, that is, He did not annihilate them from the face of the earth so that they might not forget His law, for by reading it and by observing it, though only outwardly, they keep it in mind and thus bring judgment upon themselves and furnish testimony to us. FC, Vol. 38, Saint Augustine, Sermons on the Liturgical Seasons, Sermon 201, §3 (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1959), pp. 70-71.
Is this to say that God gives us scripture, and that He uses whom He will to preserve and distribute it, even though they may become His enemies? We know the remnant of Israel will be grafted in again when they return to Him, and this has already begun.
Romans 11:25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written:


“ The Deliverer will come out of Zion,
And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;
27 For this is My covenant with them,
When I take away their sins.”

28 Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. 29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. 30 For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
34 “ For who has known the mind of the LORD?
Or who has become His counselor?”
35 “ Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”

36 For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.

Paul said...

Jennie,
I don't think that Augustine is referring to future Israel here. He may elsewhere. I think he has in mind the "religious" Jews that Stephen describes as "Uncircumcised in heart and ears" just before he is martyred. Oh, and Jennie if this thread closes down can I finish my examination of Fr. Graham's article on one of your previous posts. Maybe one of the three you have on "Sufficiency Of Scripture"?

Paul said...

"John Calvin burnt all the copies he could collect of
Servetus' Bible at Geneva, because these contained some notes he did not think were orthodox. Indeed
Calvin went a step further than that—he burned Servetus himself."
-------------
This is just amazing. Calvin was not even a Citizen of Geneva at that time. He did not burn Servetus and the fact is, Servetus escaped from his Roman Catholic captors who had similar plans for him and made a B-Line for Geneva. His primary purpose was to aggravate Calvin.

" It is very common to hear the remark, "What about Servetus?" or, "Who burned Servetus?" There are three kinds of persons who thus flippantly ask a question of this nature. First, the Roman Catholics, who may judge it to be an unanswerable taunt to a Protestant. Second, those who are not in accord with the great doctrines of grace, as taught by Paul and Calvin, and embraced and loved by thousands still. Then there is a third kind of persons who can only be described as ill-informed. It is always desirable, and often useful, to really know something of what one professes to know.

I shall narrow the inquiry at the outset by saying that all Roman Catholics are "out of court." They burn heretics on principle, avowedly. This is openly taught by them; it is in the margin of their Bible; and it is even their boast that they do so. And, moreover, they condemned Servetus to be burned.

Those who misunderstand or misrepresent the doctrines of grace call for pity more than blame when they charge the death of Servetus upon those views of divine truth known as Calvinistic. Perhaps a little instruction would be of great value to such. It is very desirable to have clear ideas of what it is we are trying to understand. In most disputes this would make a clear pathway for thought and argument. Most controversies are more about terms than principles.

The third sort of persons are plainly incompetent to take up this case, for the simple reason that they know nothing whatever about it. Pressed for their reasons, they have to confess that they never at any time read a line about the matter."
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3452

Jennie said...

Sure, Paul. Or I can put up a new post.

About the Augustine quote on the Jews, I was wondering if the same principle might apply to the church: that God used the Jews to preserve His word, and they fell in unbelief, except for a remnant. God used the Church to preserve His word, and they fell in unbelief, except for a remnant. God used the Reformers to purify His church and bring many back to the Word, and they are falling in unbelief, except for a remnant.
Romans 11:32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.
Am I way off in left field?

Paul said...

(iii) Here, as I said before, comes in the Council of Carthage, 397 A.D., confirming and approving the
decrees of a previous Council (Hippo, 393 A.D.) declaring, for all time to come, what was the exact collection
of sacred writings thenceforth to be reckoned, to the exclusion of all others, as the inspired Scripture of the
New Testament. That collection is precisely that which Catholics possess at this day in their Douai Bible. That
decree of Carthage was never changed. It was sent to Rome for confirmation. As I have already remarked, a
Council, even though not a general Council of the whole Catholic Church, may yet have its decrees made
binding on the whole Church by the approval and will of the Pope. A second Council of Carthage over which
St Augustine presided, in 419 A.D., renewed the decrees of the former one, and declared that its act was to
be notified to Boniface, Bishop of Rome, for the purpose of confirming it. From that date all doubt ceased as
to what was, and what was not 'spurious', or 'genuine', or 'doubtful' among the Christian writings then
known. Rome had spoken. A Council of the Roman Catholic Church had settled it. You might hear a voice
here or there, in East or West, in subsequent times, raking up some old doubt, or raising a question as to
whether this or that book of the New Testament is really what it claims to be, or should be where it is. But it
is a voice in the wilderness
.

"Did Hippo, Carthage, or Rome's Bishop Settle the Canon?

Some Roman Catholics are under the false impression that the councils of Hippo (A.D. 393) and/or Carthage (A.D. 397) authoritatively settled the canon of Scripture for the church - either directly or by endorsement by one or more Roman bishops. To be deep in history, however, is to cease to be so naive.

John of Damascus (lived from about A.D. 676 – 749) wrote on the canon of the New Testament:

The New Testament contains four gospels, that according to Matthew, that according to Mark, that according to Luke, that according to John; the Acts of the Holy Apostles by Luke the Evangelist; seven catholic epistles, viz. one of James, two of Peter, three of John, one of Jude; fourteen letters of the Apostle Paul; the Revelation of John the Evangelist; the Canons of the holy apostles, by Clement.

- John of Damascus, An Exact Exposition of the Orthodox Faith, Book 4, Chapter 17

You will note that differs from our canon by the inclusion of the canons of Clement. He was wrong to include that work, but the fact remains that there was not a "catholic" (universal) canon of the New Testament even as late as the 8th century. There was widespread agreement by that time on the 27 books that we recognize were inspired, but there was no authoritative presence telling all Christians they must accept one set of books or another. Ask any Eastern Orthodox scholar when their church defined the canon - the answer will not be a date, and it may be a lecture on the difference between the eastern churches and those of the West.

On the Old Testament, John of Damascus similarly provides a list:

Observe, further, that there are two and twenty books of the Old Testament, one for each letter of the Hebrew tongue. For there are twenty-two letters of which five are double, and so they come to be twenty-seven. For the letters Caph, Mem, Nun, Pe, Sade are double. And thus the number of the books in this way is twenty-two, but is found to be twenty-seven because of the double character of five. For Ruth is joined on to Judges, and the Hebrews count them one book: the first and second books of Kings are counted one: and so are the third and fourth books of Kings: and also the first and second of Paraleipomena: and the first and second of Esdra. In this way, then, the books are collected together in four Pentateuchs and two others remain over, :"
source:
http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2009/08/did-hippo-carthage-or-romes-bishop.html

Paul said...

Jennie, I'll look at this a bit more tomorrow.
Here are the study notes from the ESV Study Bible:



Rom. 11:29 Israel will be saved because God never revokes his saving promises. Gifts (Gk. charisma) means things freely given by God, and the word can be used to refer to different kinds of gifts. Sometimes the word refers to spiritual gifts for ministry (as in 1:11; 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:4) and sometimes to the gift of salvation (Rom. 5:15–16; 6:23), but the context here favors yet a third kind of “gifts,” namely, the unique blessings given to Israel which Paul mentioned at the beginning of this long section (9:4–5). calling (Gk. klēsis, using the same root as Gk. eklogē, “election,” in 11:28; also in 9:11; 11:7) refers here to calling to salvation (cf. 8:30; 9:11, 24).

Rom. 11:30–31 Salvation history is structured to feature God's great mercy. God saved the Gentiles when one would expect only the Jews to be saved, but in the future he will amaze all by his grace again by saving the Jews, so that it will be clear that everyone's salvation is by mercy alone. The final now in the text does not mean the promise to the Jews is now fulfilled but that the promise of Jewish salvation could be fulfilled at any time.

Rom. 11:30–31 Salvation history is structured to feature God's great mercy. God saved the Gentiles when one would expect only the Jews to be saved, but in the future he will amaze all by his grace again by saving the Jews, so that it will be clear that everyone's salvation is by mercy alone. The final now in the text does not mean the promise to the Jews is now fulfilled but that the promise of Jewish salvation could be fulfilled at any time.

Rom. 11:32 The word all here refers to Jews and Gentiles (all without distinction, not all without exception). The sin and disobedience of both Jews and Gentiles is highlighted, to emphasize God's mercy in saving some among both Jews and Gentiles.

Moonshadow said...

I remember when the ESV first came out, my Reformed friend was so happy to have an English Bible without study notes. She said she just wanted to read God's Word with nothing added. And I encouraged her in this, of course, with all sincerity. It's very noble.

I'm not dissing the ESV, at all. It's a fine translation and I have Sproul's study edition. It just didn't take long for the ESVSB to come along (and, longer than I expected, the ESV+Apocrypha, but, alleluia!)

Paul said...

Fr. Graham claims that the Douay Rheims is an accurate translation while Protestant Bibles are corrupted.
"We are close now to the moment at which the first Catholic version (and up till today the only one ever
sanctioned in English) appeared.
(6) But time would fail to tell of all the corruptions and perversions of the original texts which are to be
found in practically all the Protestant Bibles, down to the present time, and whose existence is proved by the
fact that one after the other has been withdrawn, and its place taken by a fresh version, which in its turn
was found to be no better than the rest. Is this reverence for the Word of God? Which of all these corrupt
partisan versions was 'the Rule of Faith?' The Bible, and the Bible only, we are told; but which Bible? I ask.

It was a translation, of course, from the Latin Vulgate, which had been declared by the Council of
Trent to be the authorised text of Scripture for the Church. Martin was the principal translator, whilst Bristow
mainly contributed the notes, which are powerful and illuminative. The whole was intended to be of service
both to priests and people, to give them a true and sound rendering of the original writings, to save them
from the numberless false and incorrect versions in circulation, and to provide them with something
wherewith to refute the heretics who then, as ever, approached with a text in their mouth
.
In 1593
the College returned to Douai, and there in 1609 the Old Testament was added, and the Catholic Bible in
English was complete, and is called the Douai Bible. Complete we may well call it; it is the only really
complete Bible in English, for it contains those seven books of the Old Testament which I pointed out before
were, and are, omitted by the Protestants in their editions. So that we can claim to have not only the pure,
unadulterated Bible but the whole of it, without addition or subtraction: a translation of the Vulgate, which is
itself the work of St. Jerome in the fourth century, which, again, is the most authoritative and correct of all
the early copies of Holy Scripture
. At a single leap we thus arrive at that great work, completed by the
greatest scholar of his day, who had access to manuscripts and authorities that have now perished, and
who, living so near the days of the Apostles, and, as it were, close to the very fountainhead, was able to
produce a copy of the inspired writings which, for correctness, can never be equalled
.

But when all
is said and done, it is a noble version with a noble history; true, honest, scholarly, faithful to the original.

--------------------
continued

Paul said...

"An overt example of textual corruption that has subsequently been transmitted by the Vulgate into the English (Roman Catholic) translation of the Douay"“Rheims Bible can be seen in the example of Psalm 2:12 with the translation of the Hebrew "Kiss, do homage, or adore the Son." The Latin Vulgate misses the Hebrew sense completely with adprehendite disciplinam which is subsequently translated by the Douay"“Rheims version as "˜embrace discipline.´ As a side note, the Douay"“Rheims is a translation of a translation, i.e. it is an English translation based on the latin Vulgate.
The other example can be seen in the Vulgate translation of Matthew 4:17, which tended to sever, as McGrath suggests, "˜the semantic link between the mental attitude of repentance and the sacrament of penance.´ The translation in the Vulgate read: Exinde coepit Jesus praedicare et dicere paenitentiam agite adpropinquavit enim regnum caelorum. This had been taken to imply the need to "˜do penance´, in preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God. (The ambiguity of the Latin word poenitentia, which could be translated as the mental state of "˜repentance´, or the sacrament of "˜penance´, should be noted.) This link was initially weakened, and subsequently eliminated, through the rise of the new philology. Thus Erasmus initially translated the Greek verb as poeniteat vos ("˜be penitent´), and subsequently as resipiscite ("˜come to your senses´). See Alister McGrath, The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1987), pp. 133"“134.
source:
Holy Scripture: The Ground And Pillar Of Our Faith Vol I
David T. King

In fact it was not until 1970 that the RCC with the NAB went back to the Greek/Hebrew manuscripts. Prior to that all English translations came from the Vulgate.

NAB: Matt 4:17
17
7 From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."

D-R:
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand

Moonshadow said...

In fact it was not until 1970 that the RCC with the NAB went back to the Greek/Hebrew manuscripts.

You realize, of course, that the Greek Orthodox Churches consider the Greek LXX canonical rather than the Hebrew MT? (Wiki)

And you realize that the ESV does not use NA27 as published.

I'm all for churches deciding which version of the Bible - even a translation - is authoritative.

Paul said...

"You realize, of course, that the Greek Orthodox Churches consider the Greek LXX canonical rather than the Hebrew MT? (Wiki)

And you realize that the ESV does not use NA27 as published.

I'm all for churches deciding which version of the Bible - even a translation - is authoritative."

Yes, that is very interesting. There was however not "one" standard LXX in the early church. This was addressed in the White/Machuta debate.

Also, here is an interesting note that I found last week while studying Acts 7. (ESV Study Bibl

.

Gen. 11:32 By way of completing this short introduction to Terah's family, the narrative records his death at the age of 205. If Abram was born when Terah was 70 years old (see v. 26), and if Abram was 75 years old when he departed for Canaan (see 12:4), then Terah died 60 years after Abram's departure (70 + 75 + 60 = 205). In Acts 7:4, however, Stephen says that Abram left Haran after the death of Terah. A simple way to resolve the chronological difficulty is to suppose that Stephen was following an alternative text (represented today in the Samaritan Pentateuch), which says that Terah died at the age of 145

Moonshadow said...

it was not until 1970 that the RCC

In '61, the JB appeared in French; an English version in '66 from the original languages but minimally dependent upon the French. And in '85, the NJB from the original languages.

Moonshadow said...

There was however not "one" standard LXX in the early church.

I'm well aware of that, having read this long ago. I'm talking today for EO, not back then.

Everyone is aware of the Genesis 11/Acts 7 thing; it's not a big deal.

Paul said...

"I'm all for churches deciding which version of the Bible - even a translation - is authoritative."

Yes, I agree. But you see my point regarding Fr. Graham's article? He criticizes the protestant Bibles as corrupting the text. He even describes an "Epistle of Calvin" being added to what eventually became the Geneva Bible. This leaves the impression that Calvin's "Epistle" was raised to the level of Scriptural authority. When what he is referring to is Marginal Study Notes. Similar to what you have in your Reformation Study Bible.
At Trent, the Vulgate was in fact declared "authoritative" and shortly after that Pope Sixtus V set about producing an "infallible" version of it.

See Madrid v. Sungenis on this:
http://bellarmineforum.xanga.com/655871524/question-65-8211-pope-sixtus-v-the-latin-vulgate-and-papal-infallibility/

But see my reference to McGrath's observation of Matt. 4:17.
This variant was instrumental in a development of doctrine. (doing penance).

Moonshadow said...

But you see my point regarding Fr. Graham's article?

I think you of all people ought to recognize that Fr. Graham is being petty and intentionally polemical. As is McGrath. I'm fine with Matthew 4:17 ... there's nothing unCatholic about doing penance.

set about producing an "infallible" version of it.

And revision was made as recently as the last century (Revision of the Vulgate).

Again, Paul, you seem to be insisting, on the one hand, that Catholics ought to be Vulgate-only users while at the same time pointing out that we aren't (NAB/NJB/NRSV used in public worship worldwide) and that the Vulgate is imperfect and in as much need of critical emendation/correction as the NA27/USB4.

These days, there's apparently no reason for Protestant Christians to accept the NA27/USB4 - neither the NIV nor the ESV NTs are based upon it faithfully (or blindly, depending upon one's perspective). Some have always favored the TR (not an accurate designation, but you know what I mean) and a growing number favor the Majority Text. The Greeks don't accept the Hebrew MT but we Catholics finally do.

Do you see how you are frustrated by your own expectations? Label that as a, what is it, Madridism? Again. I don't know the man.

Paul said...

Elena put forth Fr. Graham's article and I am simply pointing out the Historical inaccuracies, and fallacious arguments he used. The fact that it has had a:
Twenty-second Printing
Nihil Obstat et Imprimatur JOANNES RITCHIE, Vic. Gen.
Glasguae.
Demonstrates that the Nihil Obstat is rather meaningless.

Paul said...

I think you of all people ought to recognize that Fr. Graham is being petty and intentionally polemical. As is McGrath. I'm fine with Matthew 4:17 ... there's nothing unCatholic about doing penance.

Petty?
Fr. Graham: yes
Dr. McGrath: no
McGrath's observations are accurate and proven to be important by the NAB (currently the official U.S Cath. Bishop's version) revision of Matt. 4:17. Father Pacwa admitted in debate that Augustine was likely influenced in his understanding and development of penance by that mis-translation.

Moonshadow said...

Demonstrates that the Nihil Obstat is rather meaningless.

Not at all, Nihil obstat, just perhaps not as you expect. Condemning the author's work does not necessarily impinge upon his censor. Again, you think Catholic books are censored so as to suppress personal opinion and attitude?

fallacious arguments he used.

And I'm agreeing with you.

Another thing, on the "infallible" Sixtine Vulgate, how can something be declared infallible before it's produced? But, of course, accuracy would be a good goal to strive for.

I'm no fan of McGrath ... or Pacwa.

Paul said...

"I'm fine with Matthew 4:17 ... there's nothing unCatholic about doing penance."

Do you see the circularity in that?
What if you presented the following argument to me?

Mark 16
17 And a these signs will accompany those who believe: b in my name they will cast out demons; c they will speak in new tongues; 18 d they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; e they will lay their hands f on the sick, and they will recover.”

Translation Note:
16:9 Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20

"So Paul, since the manuscript evidence overwhelmingly conflicts with your practice of snake-handling...your use of Rattle-Snakes in worship is unbiblical."

My reply:
"I'm good with that since there's nothing un-Apostolic about snake handling ."

Paul said...

"Another thing, on the "infallible" Sixtine Vulgate, how can something be declared infallible before it's produced? But, of course, accuracy would be a good goal to strive for.

That's a great question. In fact one that you should ask of Trent since
Trent declared in its Fourth Session:

But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical,
the said books entire with all their parts, as they
have been used to be read in the Catholic Church,
and as they are contained in the old Latin
vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately
contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be
anathema. Let all, therefore, understand, in what
order, and in what manner, the said Synod, after
having laid the foundation of the Confession of
faith, will proceed, and what testimonies and
authorities it will mainly use in confirming
dogmas, and in restoring morals in the Church.

source:
http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct04.html

Paul said...

"It is of interest to note that this "most holy" and "wise" council was speaking presciently since it is safe to conclude that, even if all of Rome's church had used the old Latin Vulgate, they were not in obedience with this decree...indeed, NONE of Rome's churches were in accordance with this decree because the edition that was to be used in the public reading, preaching, etc did not as of yet exist."

It was admitted and brought to the attention of the council only a month prior to this decree that the Vulgate did not agree with the Hebrew and Greek originals, and that a revision of the text to correct the errors was needed. It was then suggested that the 'primitive' Vulgate should be restored, and that the papacy would be best suited to take on the responsibility to oversee this task. (Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Vol I pg. 162)

Francis Turretin summarizes the embarrassment quite accurately:
The council of Trent canonized an edition which at the time had no existence and appeared forty-six years afterwards. The decree was made in 1546. In 1590, the work was finished and published by Sixtus V; two years after that it was published by Clement VIII. Now how could a council approve and declare authentic an edition which it had not examined and in fact had not yet been made? (Quoted in ibid, pg 162-163 comes from Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology Vol I, XV.ix)

Paul said...

"It was also noted by David King that Cardinal Pole recommended the original Hebrew and Greek texts be included as authentic texts, but this was rejected. Pope Sixtus V made his own attempt to revise the old Vulgate, but could never seem to satisfy himself...he noticed he omitted entire verses and other embarrassing blunders. Sixtus had his version circulated to cardinals and had a Papal Bull that was to be issued (though was never properly promulgated) that would establish the authority of this perverted text. Fortunately for Rome, Sixtus V died within a few days of issuing his version and sale of his Bible was forbidden (referred to in ibid, pg. 164 in reference to a quote in Steinmuller's Companion to Scripture Studies, Vol I).

It may be that Romanists would play down the implication of a Papal Bull not being promulgated and chalk it up to the Providence of God...however, Sixtus V, by virtue of his authority, issued this Papal Bull. Sixtus V consciously made this declaration from his official office. By Rome's standard, this should carry authority since:"

Furthermore, in order to restrain petulant spirits, It decrees, that no one, relying on his own skill, shall,--in matters of faith, and of morals pertaining to the edification of Christian doctrine, --wresting the sacred Scripture to his own senses, presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother Church,--whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures,--hath held and doth hold...

Paul said...

"Which is precisely what was done by this Bull not being spread around. Sixtus had used his office to judge the true sense of the Scriptures, and his office was rejected and others of "petulant spirits" went ahead and wrested "the sacred Scripture to his own senses" and presumed "to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary" to what a Pope, in his official seat, declared to be so.

Trent goes on to say of works on the Scripture"

...even though such interpretations were never (intended) to be at any time published. Contraveners shall be made known by their Ordinaries, and be punished with the penalties by law established. (both quotes from Trent taken from here):
http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct04.html
Thanks to Craig French for his help.
http://www.antipelagian.com/2009/08/installment-three-jays-festal-robes-get.html

Sue Bee said...

Moonshadow wrote: If liturgy is as ancient as many believe (watch video of LCMS ad orientem service in Tulsa) and if the Letter to the Hebrews was αντιλεγομένα ("disputed," even by Luther), it seems possible that the Mass is founded upon the Scripture at that time.

Thank you for the link to the Lutheran mass - I posted it on my blog. Nice! Beautiful church. Perfect setting for ancient liturgy.

Moonshadow said...

Sue Bee, it blew me away. I got that link from iMonk and if there was something like that 'round here I'd go.

Sue Bee said...

Sorry to go off topic (but it is what I do best...)

I was looking for more pictures of Grace Lutheran in Tulsa and came across this bit of interesting information about the pastor:

...Pastor Beecroft is a converted Evangelical. He is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary. He and a few other students were in a patristics class (study of the church fathers) one semester at Dallas when it dawned on them that there actually was something abiding and enduring in the historic, traditional, and liturgical approach to spirituality. That began a long road for Mason that has brought him to the LCMS and planted him in the middle of the Bible belt...

(http://steadfastlutherans.org/blog/?p=5253)

Moonshadow said...

The heart of Divino Afflante Spiritu begins in paragraph 15.

Paragraph 16 says: "In like manner therefore ought we to explain the original text which, having been written by the inspired author himself, has more authority and greater weight than any even the very best translation, whether ancient or modern ...

Also read 17-2, especially [20], "Nor should anyone think that this use of the original texts, in accordance with the methods of criticism, in any way derogates from those decrees so wisely enacted by the Council of Trent concerning the Latin Vulgate."

and [21]: "And if the Tridentine Synod wished 'that all should use as authentic' the Vulgate Latin version ... does it [not], doubtless, in any way diminish the authority and value of the original texts. For there was no question then of these texts, but of the Latin versions, which were in circulation at that time, and of these the same Council rightly declared to be preferable that which 'had been approved by its long-continued use for so many centuries in the Church.' Hence this special authority or as they say, authenticity of the Vulgate was not affirmed by the Council particularly for critical reasons, but rather because of its legitimate use in the Churches throughout so many centuries; by which use indeed the same is shown, in the sense in which the Church has understood and understands it, to be free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals; so that, as the Church herself testifies and affirms, it may be quoted safely and without fear of error in disputations, in lectures and in preaching; and so its authenticity is not specified primarily as critical, but rather as juridical."

and [22]: "Wherefore this authority of the Vulgate in matters of doctrine by no means prevents - nay rather today it almost demands - either the corroboration and confirmation of this same doctrine by the original texts or the having recourse on any and every occasion to the aid of these same texts, by which the correct meaning of the Sacred Letters is everywhere daily made more clear and evident. Nor is it forbidden by the decree of the Council of Trent to make translations into the vulgar tongue, even directly from the original texts themselves, for the use and benefit of the faithful and for the better understanding of the divine word, as We know to have been already done in a laudable manner in many countries with the approval of the Ecclesiastical authority."

So, everything you said about the Vulgate from Trent holds up but the original texts are today given a place as well. There's no pitting the original against the Vulgate or vice versa.

Moonshadow said...

Do you see the circularity in that? What if you presented the following argument to me?

A questionable translation is so very different from text that isn't even in the Bible.

That the text was translated in that way suggests the Catholic notion of doing penance wasn't beyond the pale. That the text of Mark 16:9-16 has been dropped suggests its contents are.

We still have the woman caught in adultery in our Bibles (John 7:53-8:11).

Daughter of Wisdom said...

Again, Paul's scholarship here is astounding!