Crossed The Tiber

An Evangelical Converts to Catholicism

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I was born into the Catholic faith. At 14, I was "born again" and found Jesus personally but lost His Church. After thirty years as an evangelical protestant, I have come full circle to find that He has been there all the time, in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I wish others to find the beauty and truth of the Catholic faith as I have found.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Apocrypha Revisited


Protestants refer to the deutero-canonical books removed by Martin Luther as "apocryphal" which means hidden. This term came about since these books were often segregated and set apart by reformers in a separate part of the Bible at the end, and were "hidden" as it were. This was done to let the reader know that the publisher did not feel they were supposed to be part of the original canon. Yet, the publishers of the original 1611 KJV Bible included these books in their first editions.

Despite the fact that these books were part of the original canon up until the Reformation, they have in the past 600 years acquired a mysterious and questionable status in non-Catholic circles. I was recently asked why Catholics added 7 books to the Bible. The underlying assumption from the inquirer is that we "added" these books to justify our "unscriptural" doctrines and beliefs. My gentle response was to go back and look at the first Bible ever printed 70 years before the reformation, and before the Council of Trent. You will find the Gutenberg Bible contained all the books that Catholics supposedly added after the reformation to combat the reformation doctrines. Therefore, these books were always part of the original canon of Scripture from the fourth century when the Scriptures were first compiled, and it was the first reformer, Dr. Luther, who removed the books. He maintained that the Jews themselves in the first century rejected these books and therefore he was just following their lead. However this same group of Jews ( called the Pharisees, by the way) also rejected Christ and set themselves against the growing early church. The deuterocanonical books were written in Greek and this sect of Jews was attempting to combat the Hellenization of their culture and would not accept these scriptures because they were written in the Greek language.

Another "proof" so to speak of the validity and canonicity of the deuterocanonical books is the fact that the New Testament contains over 300 references to these books. Jesus and the apostolic writers often referred to the deuterocanonical books in their inspired writings. It is difficult for me to imagine why Jesus would reference these books if they were not going to end up in the final canon. Here is a fairly exhaustive list.

Matt. 2:16 - Herod's decree of slaying innocent children was prophesied in Wis. 11:7 - slaying the holy innocents.
Matt. 6:19-20 - Jesus' statement about laying up for yourselves treasure in heaven follows Sirach 29:11 - lay up your treasure.
Matt.. 7:12 - Jesus' golden rule "do unto others" is the converse of Tobit 4:15 - what you hate, do not do to others.
Matt. 7:16,20 - Jesus' statement "you will know them by their fruits" follows Sirach 27:6 - the fruit discloses the cultivation.
Matt. 9:36 - the people were "like sheep without a shepherd" is same as Judith 11:19 - sheep without a shepherd.
Matt. 11:25 - Jesus' description "Lord of heaven and earth" is the same as Tobit 7:18 - Lord of heaven and earth.
Matt. 12:42 - Jesus refers to the wisdom of Solomon which was recorded and made part of the deuterocanonical books.
Matt. 16:18 - Jesus' reference to the "power of death" and "gates of Hades" references Wisdom 16:13.
Matt. 22:25; Mark 12:20; Luke 20:29 - Gospel writers refer to the canonicity of Tobit 3:8 and 7:11 regarding the seven brothers.
Matt. 24:15 - the "desolating sacrilege" Jesus refers to is also taken from 1 Macc. 1:54 and 2 Macc. 8:17.
Matt. 24:16 - let those "flee to the mountains" is taken from 1 Macc. 2:28.
Matt. 27:43 - if He is God's Son, let God deliver him from His adversaries follows Wisdom 2:18.
Mark 4:5,16-17 - Jesus' description of seeds falling on rocky ground and having no root follows Sirach 40:15.
Mark 9:48 - description of hell where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched references Judith 16:17.
Luke 1:42 - Elizabeth's declaration of Mary's blessedness above all women follows Uzziah's declaration in Judith 13:18.
Luke 1:52 - Mary's magnificat addressing the mighty falling from their thrones and replaced by lowly follows Sirach 10:14.
Luke 2:29 - Simeon's declaration that he is ready to die after seeing the Child Jesus follows Tobit 11:9.
Luke 13:29 - the Lord's description of men coming from east and west to rejoice in God follows Baruch 4:37.
Luke 21:24 - Jesus' usage of "fall by the edge of the sword" follows Sirach 28:18.
Luke 24:4 and Acts 1:10 - Luke's description of the two men in dazzling apparel reminds us of 2 Macc. 3:26.
John 1:3 - all things were made through Him, the Word, follows Wisdom 9:1.
John 3:13 - who has ascended into heaven but He who descended from heaven references Baruch 3:29.
John 4:48; Acts 5:12; 15:12; 2 Cor. 12:12 - Jesus', Luke's and Paul's usage of "signs and wonders" follows Wisdom 8:8.
John 5:18 - Jesus claiming that God is His Father follows Wisdom 2:16.
John 6:35-59 - Jesus' Eucharistic discourse is foreshadowed in Sirach 24:21.
John 10:22 - the identification of the feast of the dedication is taken from 1 Macc. 4:59.
John 10:36 Jesus accepts the inspiration of Maccabees as He analogizes the Hanukkah consecration to His own consecration to the Father in 1 Macc. 4:36.
John 15:6 - branches that don't bear fruit and are cut down follows Wis. 4:5 where branches are broken off.
Acts 1:15 - Luke's reference to the 120 may be a reference to 1 Macc. 3:55 - leaders of tens / restoration of the twelve.
Acts 10:34; Rom. 2:11; Gal. 2:6 - Peter's and Paul's statement that God shows no partiality references Sirach 35:12.
Acts 17:29 - description of false gods as like gold and silver made by men follows Wisdom 13:10.
Rom 1:18-25 - Paul's teaching on the knowledge of the Creator and the ignorance and sin of idolatry follows Wis. 13:1-10.
Rom. 1:20 - specifically, God's existence being evident in nature follows Wis. 13:1.
Rom. 1:23 - the sin of worshipping mortal man, birds, animals and reptiles follows Wis. 11:15; 12:24-27; 13:10; 14:8.
Rom. 1:24-27 - this idolatry results in all kinds of sexual perversion which follows Wis. 14:12,24-27.
Rom. 4:17 - Abraham is a father of many nations follows Sirach 44:19.
Rom. 5:12 - description of death and sin entering into the world is similar to Wisdom 2:24.
Rom. 9:21 - usage of the potter and the clay, making two kinds of vessels follows Wisdom 15:7.
1 Cor. 2:16 - Paul's question, "who has known the mind of the Lord?" references Wisdom 9:13.
1 Cor. 6:12-13; 10:23-26 - warning that, while all things are good, beware of gluttony, follows Sirach 36:18 and 37:28-30.
1 Cor. 8:5-6 - Paul acknowledging many "gods" but one Lord follows Wis. 13:3.
1 Cor. 10:1 - Paul's description of our fathers being under the cloud passing through the sea refers to Wisdom 19:7.
1 Cor. 10:20 - what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God refers to Baruch 4:7.
1 Cor. 15:29 - if no expectation of resurrection, it would be foolish to be baptized on their behalf follows 2 Macc. 12:43-45.
Eph. 1:17 - Paul's prayer for a "spirit of wisdom" follows the prayer for the spirit of wisdom in Wisdom 7:7.
Eph. 6:14 - Paul describing the breastplate of righteousness is the same as Wis. 5:18. See also Isaiah 59:17 and 1 Thess. 5:8.
Eph. 6:13-17 - in fact, the whole discussion of armor, helmet, breastplate, sword, shield follows Wis. 5:17-20.
1 Tim. 6:15 - Paul's description of God as Sovereign and King of kings is from 2 Macc. 12:15; 13:4.
2 Tim. 4:8 - Paul's description of a crown of righteousness is similar to Wisdom 5:16.
Heb. 4:12 - Paul's description of God's word as a sword is similar to Wisdom 18:15.
Heb. 11:5 - Enoch being taken up is also referenced in Wis 4:10 and Sir 44:16. See also 2 Kings 2:1-13 & Sir 48:9 regarding Elijah.
Heb 11:35 - Paul teaches about the martyrdom of the mother and her sons described in 2 Macc. 7:1-42.
Heb. 12:12 - the description "drooping hands" and "weak knees" comes from Sirach 25:23.
James 1:19 - let every man be quick to hear and slow to respond follows Sirach 5:11.
James 2:23 - it was reckoned to him as righteousness follows 1 Macc. 2:52 - it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
James 3:13 - James' instruction to perform works in meekness follows Sirach 3:17.
James 5:3 - describing silver which rusts and laying up treasure follows Sirach 29:10-11.
James 5:6 - condemning and killing the "righteous man" follows Wisdom 2:10-20.
1 Peter 1:6-7 - Peter teaches about testing faith by purgatorial fire as described in Wisdom 3:5-6 and Sirach 2:5.
1 Peter 1:17 - God judging each one according to his deeds refers to Sirach 16:12 - God judges man according to his deeds.
2 Peter 2:7 - God's rescue of a righteous man (Lot) is also described in Wisdom 10:6.
Rev. 1:4 the seven spirits who are before his throne is taken from Tobit 12:15 – Raphael is one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints before the Holy One.
Rev. 1:18; Matt. 16:18 - power of life over death and gates of Hades follows Wis. 16:13.
Rev. 2:12 - reference to the two-edged sword is similar to the description of God's Word in Wisdom 18:16.
Rev. 5:7 - God is described as seated on His throne, and this is the same description used in Sirach 1:8.
Rev. 8:3-4 - prayers of the saints presented to God by the hand of an angel follows Tobit 12:12,15.
Rev. 8:7 - raining of hail and fire to the earth follows Wisdom 16:22 and Sirach 39:29.
Rev. 9:3 - raining of locusts on the earth follows Wisdom 16:9.
Rev. 11:19 - the vision of the ark of the covenant (Mary) in a cloud of glory was prophesied in 2 Macc. 2:7.
Rev. 17:14 - description of God as King of kings follows 2 Macc. 13:4.
Rev. 19:1 - the cry "Hallelujah" at the coming of the new Jerusalem follows Tobit 13:18.
Rev. 19:11 - the description of the Lord on a white horse in the heavens follows 2 Macc. 3:25; 11:8.
Rev. 19:16 - description of our Lord as King of kings is taken from 2 Macc. 13:4.
Rev. 21:19 - the description of the new Jerusalem with precious stones is prophesied in Tobit 13:17.
Exodus 23:7 - do not slay the innocent and righteous - Dan. 13:53 - do not put to death an innocent and righteous person.
1 Sam. 28:7-20 the intercessory mediation of deceased Samuel for Saul follows Sirach 46:20.
2 Kings 2:1-13 Elijah being taken up into heaven follows Sirach 48:9.
2 Tim. 3:16 - the inspired Scripture that Paul was referring to included the deuterocanonical texts that the Protestants removed. The books Baruch, Tobit, Maccabees, Judith, Sirach, Wisdom and parts of Daniel and Esther were all included in the Septuagint that Jesus and the apostles used.

For further info, check this link: http://ic.net/~erasmus/RAZ110.HTM

Labels: ,

17 Comments:

Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"Despite the fact that these books were part of the original canon up until the Reformation"

Which ones? When were they pronounced in the canon? Why do you call them Deutero...? Deuter meaning the second canon? So for 1500 years the saints of God were not able to know what the canon was until Rome pronounced them canonical?

"the New Testament contains over 300 references to these books. Jesus and the apostolic writers often referred to the deuterocanonical books in their inspired writings."

The inspiration is assumed and then proved. Not a good argument when Paul makes reference to pagan philosophers. Should we canonize them too?

I suppose if the authors were alive today, and they quoted something good from the "Purpose Driven Life", then that would be Scripture too?

Don't forget to quote the parts of the Apocrypoha that questions itself as being inspired. If God questions His own Word, we should question it too, right.?

The issue is slightly more complicated than just copying and pasting stuff onto a Blog.

"Therefore, these books were always part of the original canon of Scripture from the fourth century when the Scriptures were first compiled, and it was the first reformer, Dr. Luther, who removed the books."

Talk about bad argumentation. Yea, right. Luther just hated the Apocrypha so he hid them under his desk. Never mind the fact that all of the Reformers rejected the Apocrypha on solid argumentation which you are apparently are ignorant of.

Nevermind the historical problems of these books. That gets even worse.

Yes, I say there were reasons. You might want to actually want to look into them. Have you read William Whittackers Disputations On Holy Scripture?

How about William Webster's and David King's work?



Somehow I doubt it.

September 06, 2006 3:15 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Hey Howard:
You will make an awesome convert when you, Lord willing, make the swim! God bless

September 06, 2006 5:14 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"You will make an awesome convert when you, Lord willing, make the swim! God bless"

Thanks for the compliment. I guess.
You are obviously good natured.
;-)

Another thought did come to me later. Liberal scholarship often argues that the Ten Commandments are similar to laws from other nations around Israel. Since their laws were obviously older than Israel's, they must be inspired too, right?.....

Just another thought.

God Bless

September 06, 2006 5:35 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Tiber and Howard, I hope you don't mind my jumping in here; however, your conversation appears to have elements of misunderstanding and / or assumptions that might be avoided if addressed.

If I understand correctly, I believe Howard is absolutely on the money when he points out a scriptual reference to some other writing does not canonize the referenced document. when establishing canon, the Church would likely have weighed such references in their consideration; however, we know the Church did not consider references to "The Assumption of Moses" and "The book of Enoch," proof of canon.

The Church also gave great weight to writings that many Christian communities circulated as Scripture; however, as with the weight afforded reference, this was not enough in itself. "The Shepard of Hermas" was considered--and left out, as were many epistles of "Church Fathers."

Of course, given that neither previous use by Christian communities nor reference by other writings were in themselves enough for Christians to qualify something as canon, then the question remains, what exactly *did* qualify?

The answer: the Church herself.

-------


Regarding "deuterocanon." Howard is correct. It does mean "second canon." Christians used this label to distinguish all parts of the Old Testement that did not have Hebrew text sources.

The reference as "second canon" did not indicate that these books were added to the complete canon of Chritian scripture. Rather, it references an event within the relationship of dispersed Judiasm with its new offshoot, Chritianity, circa 90 AD.

In reaction to the rapid growth of the Jewish "cult" surrounding Jesus of Nazareth, Rabbinic remnants of the Pharasitic movement (disperesed by Rome's sacking of Jerusalem) began establishing official Jewish cannon. Many of the newer, Greek-source writings supported Jesus' followers claims. The rabbis dismissed these, asserting that only Hebrew text could be cannonized: an assertion that the followers of Jesus obviously rejected. They aknowledgeed the Judaic canon, but additionally aknowledged the Greek texts. Keep in mind that this happened before the Church had even collected all the books of what would become the New Testament in one place.

I hope this helps.

--Humbly,
Theo

September 06, 2006 8:12 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"The rabbis dismissed these, asserting that only Hebrew text could be cannonized: an assertion that the followers of Jesus obviously rejected. They aknowledgeed the Judaic canon, but additionally aknowledged the Greek texts."

If I remember correctly, the rift between Judaism and Christianity may have been a major factor in why the Apocrypha was included into the canon. Those who knew the canon used by the Jews IN Jerusalem best knew that the apocrypha was not a part of the "Palestinian Canon".

The apocrypha seems to have come into the canon due to those Jews who lived away from Jerusalem and did not have possession of what was used at the Temple as Josephus describes.

Although the Hebrew Text source is not a compelling argument, William Whittacker's work demonstrates all kinds of internal problems with the Apocrypha itself. He and current authors William Webster and David King also demonstrate what exactly the church fathers believed about the apocrypha with lengthy citations.

Roger Beckwith's work on this is also very good as well.

2) "then the question remains, what exactly *did* qualify?

The answer: the Church herself."

Uhhh, hold the phone. If you mean that the church has ultimate authority to determine what is Scripture by its own power then this could be misleading. The church is passive in hearing the voice of her Lord. She recognizes the canon. She does not determine it.

There is great confusion on all sides as to God's purpose of the canon and how the church comes to recognize it. It is usually caused by our view of God's Sovereignty. So many simply can't understand how God could make sure we have what He intends (questions like what if the other letters to the Corinthians showed up are a problem for some in a hypothetical world). If we believe He is building His church, then I don't see why He is not able to bring His people to a place where they hear His voice and recognize the writing He desires for us to have.

God Bless

September 07, 2006 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Howard, I truly appreciate your thoughtful and honest comments. May God grant us
grace to communicate in such a way that we (and any who witness our discussion) will
recognize that our unity in Christ is stronger than any differences.

Please bear with me. I believe I have a fair understanding of your comments; however, if I
misunderstand or misrepresent anything, please let me know.


In my previous comment I wrote:

"The rabbis dismissed these, asserting that only Hebrew text could be canonized: an
assertion that the followers of Jesus obviously rejected. They acknowledged the Judaic
canon, but additionally acknowledged the Greek texts."
-----
You responded in part:

If I remember correctly, the rift between Judaism and Christianity may have been
a major factor in why the Apocrypha was included into the canon.
-----

Reading the above reminded me of the story about a priest who visited a
monastery. As the Abbot showed the priest around, they came across a scribe sitting at a
kitchen table, transcribing scripture (Apparently this was before the printing press.). The
scribe spent half of his time eating, rather than working.

The shocked priest asked the Abbot, Why does your scribe show such disrespect that he
takes a meal while about God's holy work?

But the Abbot smiled warmly as he said, Nay, brother, this scribe shows such respect for
God's holy work that he is about it even while he takes his meals.

Notice that both described the same activity; however, their own interpretation of the
scribe's motives skewed their conclusions. Of course we also know that the Abbot,
having charge over the scribe, likely knew the better.

Rather than say that the rift between Judaism and Christianity was a major factor in why
the septuagent was included into the Christian canon, it is more accurate to say the rift between
Judaism and Christianity was a major factor in why the septuagent was excluded from the
Jewish canon.

-----
You also wrote in part:

Those who knew the canon used by the Jews IN Jerusalem best knew that the
apocrypha was not a part of the "Palestinian Canon".
The apocrypha seems to have come into the canon due to those Jews who lived
away from Jerusalem and did not have possession of what was used at the Temple
as Josephus describes.

-----

Indeed, the septuagent was not used in the temple of Jerusalem, and historians generally
agree that it was also not used in Jerusalem synagogs, and likely not in many other parts
of Palestine. Interestingly, the temple and other Jerusalem Torahs were both Hebrew
*and* Aramaic.

Regardless, the Greek texts were as much cannon prior to 90 AD as were the Hebrew
and Aramaic. This is because there was no Palestinian Canon: in fact there was no Canon at all until AD
90. Regardless, Christians recognized the *books* named by their Jewish counterparts as
the first canon; however, they did not recognize the Hebrew version as such. Jesus himself appears to have read from the septuagent in a synagog at the start of his ministry When he said that "the prophesy is fulfilled in your hearing," he did not say "the Hebrew source version of this prophesy."

This is an
important distinction, and one that virtually all Christians (I suspect yourself included)
adhere to, even if they do not realize it.

I'm sure by now you're wondering how I could possibly say that. The answer is again
simple: When Luther and other reformers discarded the Greek sources from the
Christian Canon, they did not realize that much of what they did not discard also came
from the Greek septuagent not Hebrew. Please take some time to compare a Jewish
Bible version of the messianic prophecies compared with the Christian. The Hebrew is
vastly different. Where the Christian bible says (for example), They have pierced my
hands and my feet as taken from the Greek septuagent, the Hebrew bible has a difficult-
to-parse passage about lions (yes, the big cats).

Yet, even were all the above not so (though it is), we would still be left with the fact that
the first canon was declared 60 years or so after the Holy Spirit fell upon the Church by
those who did not accept Christ's call; and as such, they did not have the authority to
declare what is and is not scripture and I'm sure you believe this also, unless you also
recognize the authority of the Mishnah and the Talmud.

----
You also wrote in part:

Although the Hebrew Text source is not a compelling argument, William
Whittacker's work demonstrates all kinds of internal problems with the
Apocrypha itself. He and current authors William Webster and David King also
demonstrate what exactly the church fathers believed about the apocrypha with
lengthy citations.

Roger Beckwith's work on this is also very good as well.
-----

Yes, I agree that the Hebrew Text source is not a compelling argument. In fact for
Christians, it is simply false.

I'm not familiar with Messrs. Webster or King; however, I am familiar with the internal
problems argument against Greek texts. The problem with these "problems" is that they
can also be applied to many parts of the Hebrew bible as well. The same Hebrew source
that says Answer a fool according to his folly later says , Do not answer a fool
according to his folly. Portions of the same accountings of royal possessions contradict
each other between books, etc. I've yet to encounter a version of the internal problems
argument that did not either ignore the same sort of problems in remaining scripture or
else employ absurd rationalizations in order to justify some while repudiate others.


----
You also wrote in part:


2) "then the question remains, what exactly *did* qualify?

The answer: the Church herself."

Uhhh, hold the phone. If you mean that the church has ultimate authority to
determine what is Scripture by its own power then this could be misleading. The
church is passive in hearing the voice of her Lord. She recognizes the canon. She
does not determine it.

----

I'm not sure that I understand what sort of distinction you are making, so please forgive
me if my response is inadequate. I agree that the Church does not have the authority to
determine what is Scripture by its own power. However, it does by the power of the Holy
Spirit. Who else does? (We are not
Mormons. We do not believe God wrote the text and that an angel translated it for
us. There simply was nothing passive about it.


----
You also wrote in part:


There is great confusion on all sides as to God's purpose of the canon and how the
church comes to recognize it. It is usually caused by our view of God's
Sovereignty. So many simply can't understand how God could make sure we have
what He intends (questions like what if the other letters to the Corinthians showed
up are a problem for some in a hypothetical world). If we believe He is building
His church, then I don't see why He is not able to bring His people to a place
where they hear His voice and recognize the writing He desires for us to have.

God Bless

----

Amen! I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Thank you Howard, and may God also bless you!


With humble thanks,

--Theo

September 12, 2006 4:50 PM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

1) “May God grant us grace to communicate in such a way that we (and any who witness our discussion) will recognize that our unity in Christ is stronger than any differences.”

Discussions like this can be difficult since there is always the “language barrier” between faiths that use similar terminology yet mean different things.

2) “Interestingly, the temple and other Jerusalem Torahs were both Hebrew *and* Aramaic.”

I am not sure what this statement is intended to prove. They are similar languages. Perhaps an analogy would be Old English verses Modern?

3) “Regardless, the Greek texts were as much cannon prior to 90 AD as were the Hebrew
and Aramaic. This is because there was no Palestinian Canon: in fact there was no Canon at all until AD
90.”

You are probably saying that there was a canon before an official pronouncement until AD 90?

I also disagree. Jesus held men accountable to the Word of God before there was any “official” canon. Therefore in Jesus’ mind, there was a canon, and it was knowable without some council or magesterium.

So again, how the canon comes into existence and how we know it differs greatly and depends on our view of God’s Sovereignty.

The idea of an official canon that the church infallibly creates (even by the Spirit) is where we disagree (something you thought you agreed to in the last post). The issue also comes down to authority and how we understand it.

Gary Machuta and James White did a very scholarly debate on this issue. I think both sides did very well. Gary seems to use some of the argument you have presented. Are you familiar with him?

Gerry Matatics also debate White on this subject and it was a very lively debate. I think Gary Machuta did a far superior job though. He was clearly well studied.

4) “Jesus himself appears to have read from the septuagent in a synagog at the start of his ministry” and again “Indeed, the septuagent was not used in the temple of Jerusalem, and historians generally agree that it was also not used in Jerusalem synagogs, and likely not in many other parts of Palestine.”

I assume you are saying that Jesus was in Galilee; therefore He may have read from the Septuagint.

5) “When Luther and other reformers discarded the Greek sources from the Christian Canon, they did not realize that much of what they did not discard also came from the Greek septuagent not Hebrew.”

Why do you think they were unaware? Your argument doesn’t necessarily follow here. For instance, the Apostle Paul makes up a word “homosexual” in 1 cor 6:9 from the Septuagint. The Greek text underlies Paul’s word, yet the Greek text is a translation of the Hebrew. This would be tantamount to me rejecting the Book of Mormon while keeping the English translation of the Scriptures we would both agree to. Yet the Book of Mormon quotes heavily from the KJV.

Am I following your argument here?

6) “The Hebrew is vastly different. Where the Christian bible says (for example), They have pierced my hands and my feet as taken from the Greek septuagent, the Hebrew bible has a difficult-to-parse passage about lions (yes, the big cats).”

Again, isn’t this a translation and transmission issue? You are not seriously saying the Septuagint overrides the Hebrew original simply because the Apostles may have used the Greek text?

7) “Yet, even were all the above not so (though it is), we would still be left with the fact that the first canon was declared 60 years or so after the Holy Spirit fell upon the Church by those who did not accept Christ's call”

I don’t accept the premise of the argument here.

8) “I've yet to encounter a version of the internal problems argument that did not either ignore the same sort of problems in remaining scripture or else employ absurd rationalizations in order to justify some while repudiate others.”

I guess we have to disagree here. I have found irreconcilable and plainly contradictory errors. I haven’t found this to be the case with Scripture.

9) “I agree that the Church does not have the authority to determine what is Scripture by its own power. However, it does by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I assume you are not RC then? ;-)

I am not saying the RCs deny the role of the Spirit anymore than they would deny the role of grace (as many Protestants are shocked to hear). They do have a clearly different view of the magesterium. Read this Blog’s newest post and the equivocation on the term is quite obvious.

10) “Amen! I agree with you wholeheartedly. Thank you Howard, and may God also bless you!”

Perhaps I have been discussing these issues with the wrong catholics? Perhaps there is not as much unity as claimed?

;-)

You have been very charitable. I am not sure what unity we have other than the we both say we believe in Christ. Perhaps that may be a discussion more useful? "At what points are we unified?" could be a starting question to discuss.

God Bless

Howard

PS

This exchange really isn’t made for this forum. If you would like to continue, I made a BB located here http://pub7.bravenet.com/forum/551833608

September 13, 2006 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Dear Howard,

Thanks again for answering.
With what humble charism granted me, I hope to address any new points you raise.


------
Howard quoted me...

1) “May God grant us grace to communicate in such a way that we (and any who witness our discussion) will recognize that our unity in Christ is stronger than any differences.”
---
To which Howard observed...

Discussions like this can be difficult since there is always the “language barrier” between faiths that use similar terminology yet mean different things.
---
To which I reply...

Yes, indeed. The discussion here on Tiber's blog regrding his article on the rosary provides an excellent example.
------
------

Howard quoted me...

2) “Interestingly, the temple and other Jerusalem Torahs were both Hebrew *and* Aramaic.”
---
To which he observed...

I am not sure what this statement is intended to prove. They are similar languages. Perhaps an analogy would be Old English verses Modern?
---
To which I reply...

Yes, the comparison between Old English and Modern English is reasonable: knowledge of one has little bearing on knowledge of the other.

However, that is not the point. The point is twofold:

First, prior to AD 90, Hebrew was not a criterion.

Second, prior to AD 90, there was no single "official" collection. Even in Palestine, one did not find the same scripture everywhere.

The Hebrews generally acceppted "Moses and the Prophets" as authentic, yet aside from the Penteteuch, even that set has contunually varied since the time of Ezra.

------
------

I wrote...

Regardless, the Greek texts were as much cannon prior to 90 AD as were the Hebrew
and Aramaic. This is because there was no Palestinian Canon: in fact there was no Canon at all until AD 90.
---
Howard replied...

You are probably saying that there was a canon before an official pronouncement until AD 90?

----

I insert this clarification...

I'm saying that there was no single canon before AD 90. As for "official" canon, there was none until the fourth century, AD; however, I sugest we put off discussion of that important distinction until we more harmoniously understand the current issue.

----
Howard had continued...

I also disagree. Jesus held men accountable to the Word of God before there was any “official” canon. Therefore in Jesus’ mind, there was a canon, and it was knowable without some council or magesterium.
---
I interject...

Jesus did not list a set of cannon. He did refer to "the law and the prophets" (or "Moses and the prophets.").

However, if you infer that Jesus was indeed referring to some single canon, then his listeners also knew of this canon--otherwise Jesus would have had to list its contents lest he mislead anyone. Were that so, who told his listeners what this canon was? Did they all simply know it and agree upon it by God's soverign endowment of knowledge to each individual? -- Why then did God give the law through Moses and send the prophets--or for that matter, any written scripture?

Of course, if you mean that the aggrigate opinion of the plurality of Jewish believers and teachers over time built up the effective cannon of Jesus' day, then you describe a magesterium.

By your writing thus far, I'm confident that you would not knowingly embrace Gnosticism. Yet, as we examine your own beliefs, we see that you must either believe in a magesterium or in gnosticism.

---

Howard had continued...

So again, how the canon comes into existence and how we know it differs greatly and depends on our view of God’s Sovereignty.
----

I reply...

I disagree here. How the Christian canon came to be is recorded history. One's view of God's Sovereignty is irrelevant: otherwise the Gospels and all scripture apply only to those who believe--and only as they believe. One could (and alas, many do) choose portions of scripture to heed (if any) and dismiss the rest.

---
Alas, I've not time enough to contunue now.

I'll try my best to adequately address you other questions and points when I'm able.

Thanks for your patience and prayers.

May God bless you.

--Theo

September 14, 2006 11:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the...? I just went to the web address where theosaid his BB is. No discussion there bu there are popups for gambeling, but for POKER, not BINGO! :-) , and an add with a babe in a swisuit. Typical RC. hows that about forum ?

September 15, 2006 12:16 AM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Dear Anon:
Thanks for checking out my blog.
I just wanted to point out that the BB address you are referring to was posted by Howard (non-RC)
and not Theo (RC) in the above discussion. God bless you today.

September 15, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

Sorry about the pop-ups. I haven't seen that. I guess my blocker keeps that stuff out. I'll see if I can fix it. If not, I'll close it down. I only opened it to get off of this Blog. Too much for a Blog.

Besides, pop-ups happen to Baptists too.

September 15, 2006 10:27 AM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

Theo said, “Yes, indeed. The discussion here on Tiber's blog regrding his article on the rosary provides an excellent example.”

And his post on the “magesterium” is also full of problems.

“Second, prior to AD 90, there was no single "official" collection. Even in Palestine, one did not find the same scripture everywhere.”

Yet Jesus had no problem of holding men accountable to the Word of God which your position says they cannot possibly know. Why didn’t they ask Jesus which books? Why doesn’t Jesus explain what His position is?

The Sadducees didn’t believe in anyone but Moses, yet Jesus held them accountable for what they did believe by quoting Moses to them about the resurrection.

The main point here should be obvious to us all. Books that are God’s Word are knowable even before some Magesterium. The fact that men have disagreed on the canon doesn’t mean it is unknowable before an official pronouncement.

So let me drive this point home again. They KNEW Moses’ books were God’s Word before any Magesterium said so. Therefore, one does not have to be a gnostic or an infallible Magesterium to know this.

The fact that they rejected the prophets is irrelevant. They were blinded by their Traditions and beliefs, therefore they were rejecting God’s later revelation. You might ask “Why did they believe in Moses then?” My response is that they DID NOT believe Moses either, which is Jesus’ point.

They knew what the Word of God was and rejected it. Jesus still held them accountable to it.

“As for "official" canon, there was none until the fourth century”

Could you cite for me the books of this canon that became official in the fourth century and who did this?

“if you infer that Jesus was indeed referring to some single canon, then his listeners also knew of this canon”

Is this a form of an admission?



“Were that so, who told his listeners what this canon was? Did they all simply know it and agree upon it by God's soverign endowment of knowledge to each individual?”

Again this totally misunderstands the my position. Your conclusion is

“By your writing thus far, I'm confident that you would not knowingly embrace Gnosticism. Yet, as we examine your own beliefs, we see that you must either believe in a magesterium or in gnosticism.”

Again this conclusion is based on a premise that is false.

You are assuming that there must be an “infallible” magesterium that is able to tell us infallibly what the canon is. This however begs the question, and I could just as easily quote to you your conclusion quote above in order to know who this infallible magesterium is.

Your position only moves the question back one.

“One's view of God's Sovereignty is irrelevant”

I disagree. One’s view of His sovereignty plays a huge role. We have totally different understandings, therefore we will probably never even see the evidence we do agree upon with the same interpretation.

God Bless

September 15, 2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Hi again, Howard!

Time constraints again limit me today.

To answer your general question regarding "official" cannon:


According to “The Canon of Scripture,” (F.F. Bruce) the term "Canon" ...

“appears to have been first used by Athanasius, bishop of Alexandria, in a letter circulated in AD 367. ... The original meaning of the term canon can be traced to the Ancient Greeks, who used it in a literal sense: a Kanon was a rod, ruler, staff, or measuring rod.”

The first record of a single canon in Christianity is the full canon (including the reformers' later rejections) as recognized by the Catholic Council of Hippo, AD 393.

Prior to that date Christians did not agree on what does and does not constitute scripture. After that date, Christians ramianed in agreement for over eleven centuries--until would-be reformers began removing books and parts of books.

I'm very sorry I haven't time to provide a more detailed reply. May God bless you; and again, thanks for your patience.


-Theo

September 15, 2006 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Dear Howard:


May God bless this conversation with the provision of Almighty God the ever-lasting Father; by the grace of Our Lord and Savior Jesus who is God the Son: the Paschal Lamb of God, whose sacrifice of his own precious body and blood is and ever shall be the one and only perfect and infinite sacrifice made once and for all for the mediation and redemption of whomever and all that the Father draws; and through the ministry of God the Holy Spirit: the Paraclete alone by whose power may anyone say (as we proclaim), “Jesus is Lord,” and who gives us the courage to call upon the three divine persons of the one and only God who is as He was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
May we strive to communicate and act in truth and compassion according to His will, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

-------

Reviewing our conversation thus far, I see many points you raise I have not yet addressed. I see others that have been addressed; however, by your replies I gather their explanations require clarification. A very few others have likewise been addressed; however by your replies I gather you will find difficult to grasp. This I attribute to recalcitrance built up over time; though motivated by righteous zeal you have for God and truth. As such, these require firm but loving and humble correction.

As the days pass, I shall attempt to post as best as my humble gifts and time allow. In the meanwhile, I again thank you for your patience and forbearance.

--Theo

September 20, 2006 10:38 AM  
Anonymous Theo said...

Greetings again to Howard, Tiber and any others who might happen upon this conversation.

Earlier I observed needs for me to try my best to post regarding three areas:

1) address some things yet unaddressed,

2) clarify other things

3) offer firm and compassionate correction regarding a small set of other issues.

Being well aware that any who presume to teach are held accountable, I humbly approach the third category first--with (I pray) righteous fear. Domine, miserere pro me.

---------------------

I wrote in part:...
“By your writing thus far, I'm confident that you would not knowingly embrace Gnosticism. Yet, as we examine your own beliefs, we see that you must either believe in a magesterium or in gnosticism.”


---

howard replied:
"Again this conclusion is based on a premise that is false."

"You are assuming that there must be an “infallible” magesterium that is able to tell us infallibly what the canon is. This however begs the question, and I could just as easily quote to you your conclusion quote above in order to know who this infallible magesterium is."

----

I humbly reply:

You misunderstand. Please take a few minutes to review our conversation. The case I set forward regarding magesterium thus far has nothing to do with Catholic doctrine, but is an analysis of yours. Note also that nothing I wrote is based upon the premise that there is an "infallable" magesterium.

What we have demonstrated together (whether you realize it or not) is that you profess in action either a belief in some sort of magesterium or belief in gnostic revelation, or both. Perhaps without realizing it, you answer the question "How do you know what is and what is not Scripture?" with a combination of "The holy Spirit told me and I believe Him," and "a magesterium told me, and I believe it."

My purpose in pointing this out is rooted in a basic understanding within theological / philosophical positing: to wit: Operational contradiction--the understanding that one cannot posit as a true premise the same concept one is asserting is false. Yet in defense of your assertion that we do not need any magesterium or gnostic revelation to know what books are and are not Scripture, you offer only that Jesus knew and so did his hearers: gnosticism. Yet you seem to assert that the Protestant trimmed-down canon is somehow valid, but the Catholic canon (eleven hundred years older) is not: magesterium.

This is where what I humbly hope shall be kind correction comes in.... We must do more than "know" that God is rational (As Aquinas reminded us); we must believe he is Rational--and that he does not set snares for us any more than he would give his children scorpions when they cry out for eggs. ...and we must act accordingly. When we listen to reason, in a real sense, we listen to God. Thus, today if you hear his voice, harden not your heart.

With humble thanks to God for not striking me down as I type, I remain yours,

--Theo

September 25, 2006 11:02 PM  
Blogger Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks Theo for the comment!
This basically says what my two posts about the magisterium say, only you say it much more eloquently! We all have a magisterium, it's just that Catholics accept and admit it. To believe that you don't and just "believe" is as you say, Gnosticism, because you therefore must have been given a "secret impartation" of knowledge that tells you whether the scriptures are scripture or not. St. Augustine admitted "I would not believe in the Gospels were it not for the authority of the Catholic Church telling me to do so"
Most Protestants believe that too, but are unable to admit it and therefore have to rely on a "secret impartation" to affirm their belief that the Scriptures are God's word.

September 26, 2006 7:47 AM  
Blogger Howard Fisher said...

"What we have demonstrated together (whether you realize it or not) is that you profess in action either a belief in some sort of magesterium or belief in gnostic revelation, or both."

"you offer only that Jesus knew and so did his hearers: gnosticism."

Again, the premise that there must be a magesterium that tells me what Scripture is or it is impossible to know any other way except for Gnosticism. I do not accept that.

Again, there was never an argument in Jesus' day as to what the canon of Scripture was. So we can atleast say, men knew what God's Word was (atleast one book) before Jesus arrived on the scene.

Did the Jews have some Gnostic understanding that the Books of Moses were God's Word? Perhaps you believe a magesterium prior to Jesus had told them so?

The question sir is only backed up one. So now you rely on some magesterium. Have you ever watched a Roman Catholic argue with a Mormon? Both argue from the point of "my magesterium told me so". Should we now believe in the Book of Mormon?

I am a presuppositionalist, and I do not accept your presupposition.

"We must do more than "know" that God is rational (As Aquinas reminded us); we must believe he is Rational--and that he does not set snares for us any more than he would give his children scorpions when they cry out for eggs. ...and we must act accordingly."

I wholeheartedly agree. But this is presuppositional. Where do you derive this knowledge? Is it Gnostic? Did a Magesterium tell you this is true? Do you believe it simply because Aquinas said so?

Sir, there are plenty of works that explain why Protestants believe God's Word is God's Word. I have not taken the time to do so since you are obviously are aware of them. Instead we have been (hopefully) trying to discuss more basic and fundamental issues.

God Bless

October 04, 2006 2:24 PM  

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