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May 10, 2007

Comments

DJ

I don't know about me, but I know of a kid in Boston that'd have the Bible memorized before long.

Leo

Nicely put Tim.

The question is one of trust, whether it is in the Apostolic Church for the New Testament, Muhammad for the Quran, or Joseph Smith for the Book of Mormon.

I would only add the possibility that there would be the equivalent of Gnostic texts being created.

Someone in the early church who wanted to know about Jesus could expect a more historical authoritative account from those who met Him and were successors of His companions and that community.

Tradition and Apostolic Succession, the basis of a more rational trust.

Dan Hunter

All Authority and the mandate to exersise that authority is the property of Holy Mother Church,and we have our Lord's promise that "the gates of Hell will not prevail against it".
This does not mean that the gates of Hell will not prevail in America,or Ephesus,just that the Church wherever she exists will survive until the end.
God bless you.

DJ

So, say this does happen. And lets assume we can trust some monk somewhere to be hiding copies of the bible printed on metal in a cave away from society to be found hundreds of years later by a nerf herder who is the great*1e5th grandson of Han Solo.

Aside from that, which books/stories/cultural influences would people want to pass on?

Personally, I'd try to memorize Beowulf in some form or other.

Brian

This is outside the metaphor the thought experiment is based on, so don't let it throw things too far off track but I would hope that if this ever did happen hermits or monasteries or someone would find ways to preserve bibles and other important texts just like in the good old days.

Also: "Imagine that some future world government is completely successful in eliminating ALL books - including all copies of the Bible." Sounds like it could be the start of the Apocalypse to me. Maybe when it's over the Word would be living among us and we wouldn't need bibles.

Tim J.

True, Brian, but for the sake of argument I'm imagining that there are no written copies of the Bible text anywhere.

Obviously, such a world is hardly imagineable, but the point is to say, "what if...?".

There may be those who would say, "Well, God would never alow that to happen", but that is avoiding the question.

DJ

This is outside the metaphor the thought experiment is based on

Sorry, wasn't trying to hijack anything.

However, upon second thought, my previous entry may actually pertinent. If I decided that the writings of C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton were worth preserving, and I manage to preserve them, that's part of the Catholic Tradition (and yes, I know exactly what I'm saying.) George MacDonald may or may not not find his way in my secret library, though I think Beowulf would.

That's how Tradition would be passed on. We didn't have some high up muckety-mucks in the Church pull this idea of Mary's assumption out of a hat one day, call a council and label it Truth.

Esau

but I would hope that if this ever did happen hermits or monasteries or someone would find ways to preserve bibles and other important texts just like in the good old days.


Does anybody even realize that it was actually the Catholic Church that preserved and kept alive the Bible all through the centuries?

Henry Graham, a Protestant convert, had even written a classic book Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church (published 1911, I think; but still popular and being sold everywhere) that demonstrated the fact that if it weren't for the Catholic Church, the bible would not be around today since not only did it select the books that comprise it, but it was also the very thing responsible for preserving it throughout time.

As rightly said in its Preface:

"By a calm consideration of the facts of history and a mind open to conviction on genuine evidence, they will be driven by sheer force of honesty to the conclusion that the Catholic Church, so far from being the monster of iniquity that she is painted, has in very truth been the parent, the author and maker under God, of the Bible; that she has guarded it and defended it all through the ages, and preserved it from error or destruction; that she has ever held it in highest veneration and esteem, and has grounded her doctrines upon it; that she alone has the right to call it her book; that she alone possesses the true Bible and the whole Bible, and that copies of the Scriptures existing outside of her pale, are partly incorrect and partly defective, and that whatever in them is true, is true because derived from her who alone posses the Book in its fullness and its truth."


Here's a link to an Online Text version of it that I found just now:

Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church


Two Particular Chapters People Might Want to Read:

CHAPTER VI. The Originals, and their Disappearance

CHAPTER VIII. Our Debt to the Monks

Brian

Sorry, wasn't trying to hijack anything.

DJ, I wasn't referring to you. You made your post at the same time I was writing mine. We just think alike.

There may be those who would say, "Well, God would never alow that to happen", but that is avoiding the question.

Tim, you're right, but at this point I don't really have anything to add other other than the standard party line. So I made side comments in the mean time.

Brian

Here's something that might make the conversation a little more interesting. Our Catholic traditions are dwindling today. I imagine these traditions made up the backbone of the persecuted early Church. If Fahrenheit 451 happened today would we have what it takes to make it through?

Esau

Our Catholic traditions are dwindling today. I imagine these traditions made up the backbone of the persecuted early Church. If Fahrenheit 451 happened today would we have what it takes to make it through?

Which, again, brings me to the possible outcome of how authentic Catholicism is perhaps doomed in America, since you have the Rad Trads tearing down the Church on one end with their rabid attacks on the Church disguised as genuine traditional teachings, while you have liberals on the other doing something equally destructive where they're attempting to morph the Church into their conception of what the Catholic Church should look like, especially given our day and age.

Catholicism itself will survive, but i would venture to say that, like in Ratzinger's book, Salt of the Earth, it will only exist in smaller (though more faithful) communities.

Brian

I don't think a smaller Church would necessarily be a bad thing. Not that we should ever intentionally do anything to push people away. I think it would something like the bishops get on their priests to preach the hard truths as charitably as possible. This will make people uncomfortable and they will decide to do something instead of remaining stagnant. Some will take the initiative to learn more about the Church's teachings in order to figure out why they're hearing such crazy things. This will only increase their faith. Others will get fed up and leave the Church. The ones who stay will be inspired by the example set by their priests and bishops who they see working hard to live the Gospel, and will hopefully follow. I also pray that the ones who fall away will realize the emptiness in their lives and turn back to God. I know it was that feeling of missing something that helped bring me back, and I don't think I would have experienced it if i had kept going to Church despite not being Catholic in my thoughts or deeds.

At least thats how things work in my fairy tale world: Uncomfortable people change one way or the other, there's a chance they'll move closer to God. Comfortable people don't change, there's no chance they'll move closer to God.

Esau

I don't think a smaller Church would necessarily be a bad thing.

I didn't say it was.

To me, it would be like "quality vs. quanitity", where the former would prevail in that sense.

Remember, the early Christian church was small, but, man, did they live their Faith!

This reminds me of the book A Canticle for Leibowitz where there is a nuclear holocaust, and naturally a revolution/anarchy afterwards where they kill all intelligent people. It turns out that the only people who can read are of the Church and the Order of Leibowitz, which the book it about, is a monastery dedicated to memorizing and bootlegging books on the pains of torture and martyrdom from the rest of humanity.

Brian

Esau, I wasn't disagreeing with you, just adding my thoughts.

Cajun Nick

I think it would something like the bishops get on their priests to preach the hard truths as charitably as possible. This will make people uncomfortable and they will decide to do something instead of remaining stagnant.

Brian,

I agree, and, in fact, I think that Pope Benedict has begun to swing the pendulum that way with his remarks about pro-abort Catholic politicians.

The Pope is obviously encouraging bishops to preach the unvarnished Truth, instead of worrying about declining membership numbers.

A smaller - or I should say, more compact - Church that gathers itself together is in better position to reach out. This might sound a little counterintuitive, but think of it as the calm before the storm. Sort of the way that a spring has to be coiled in order to "spring" out.

Dan Hunter

Do you actually think that it is beyond the power of the Holy Ghost to propagate the faith continuously,whilst working through His missionaries?
No, Christ wants the whole world to become Catholic.He said it in the Gospel.
This does not sound like a small Church.
Tell St Francis Xavier,and Father Isaac Jogues, that God really only wants a small,committed Church.Would they have sacrificed life and,quite literally limb to bring the Catholic faith to the pagans,for the sake of a small Church?
No.
God bless you.

francis 03

All fair comments, but of course the Church needs both quantity and quality. It's all just a question of where to draw the line-- otherwise the Church would have only one member!

This is actually a really interesting question. The Church, of course, has scarce pastoral resources. Rubrics like "the greatest good for the greatest number" don't work in the economic sphere because the two prongs are in tension with each other-- if you spread out benefits across a great number of people, each of them will often get less. So how is the Church to use its resources-- concentrate on making a small number of people really holy, or try to be just a minor leaven across a much broader swathe of society? That dichotomy may be a bit too sharp, but it points to a real dilemma. E.g.: if you only have one priest for 5000 Catholics spread across 6 parishes, do you close 5 of them and assign the priest to the largest parish, hoping he can really turn it around? Or do you have him say one mass every other weekend at each of the six, and hope to hang on to a few loyal churchgoers at each?

Interesting questions.

francis 03

As I read my last comment I realize that it leaves the laity completely out of "the Church." That, of course, is the problem.

Brian

Dan,

I think we all agree with you. We'd like to see our Bishops and priests preach the Truth no matter what the cost just as the great missionary saints you mention did. But we also see that this may, at least temporarily, cause those who have grown used to priests who don't challenge them to leave for something easier to swallow. Our hope is that in the end this will put the Church in a better position to evangelize the world. As Nick put it, "[A] Church that gathers itself together is in better position to reach out."

Cajun Nick

Dan,

Yes, Christ wants the whole world to become Catholic. And, we know that Christ died so that all might be saved.

However, we also know that not all will be saved; though many will be saved.

Christ wants the world to become Catholic, and when He returns it glory, it will be.

But the people the people of this age must choose. The Church needs to strike a bold line in the sand to make the choice distinct.

Today, it seems that many elements within the Church are blurring the line, and people aren't really choosing.

A smaller Church, with a distinct message, will make it possible for people to know the Truth, and to choose Christ - or not.

Brian

Man, I wish gauntlets would come back in style. Those guys in the picture look sharp. Of course they're not really practical in our society, you'd have to take 'em off whenever you want to use your cell phone or type on a keyboard or anything like that.

Cajun Nick

Gauntlets, maybe.

Those goofy helmets, never.

Brian

Today, it seems that many elements within the Church are blurring the line, and people aren't really choosing.

Why is this? Why are so many bishops more worried about not offending people than preaching the Gospel? Too often listening to an interview with a bishop is like listening to an interview with a politician. They do the best they can to say nothing at all without exactly denying the official party line. I praise the ones who do boldly defend the Church and her teachings.

Ed Peters

Tim you've had some good posts over the years, but this was one the best. Golly, gotta go back and think about this one some more. Kindest regards, edp.

Cajun Nick

Not being a bishop myself, I can only speculate as to what my reasons would be if I were one:

(I know that this doesn't make sense; but it's just speculation based on human nature)

If I were a bishop I might just be a little worried about driving people away permanently with words that, while true, are too harsh. In today's age, people are easily offended (to be honest, me too).

So, as bishop, I might try to find the exact right words at just the exact right time to preach the Truth; a time that allows people to remain in the Church, and increases the chances that they'll be positively disposed toward the message and be receptive of it.

The danger, however, is that I'll never find the right moment. Therefore, I never give the message.

But, as I said, I'm not a bishop, so I guess I'll never know.

All I can do is pray that God will continue to grant me the grace of faith, and that I will persevere. I also need to pray for the Church, especially our bishops, who need our prayers more than our criticisms.

Esau

Tell St Francis Xavier,and Father Isaac Jogues, that God really only wants a small,committed Church.


Dan:

Question -- which would God prefer:

1. A Huge Church where the majority are faithless Catholics

- or -

2. A Small Church with a number of FAITHFUL Catholics?

Which of the two would be more pleasing to God?

Mt 5:13:
13 You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men. (DRV)

Cajun Nick

I would like to echo Ed Peters:

Tim's contributions to the blog have been most excellent.

Slowboy

On a Protestant blog far, far away:

What if a mysterious virus were set loose that kills the entire Roman magestirium Pope and all but no one else? Would there be a Roman Church left. (for the sake of aguement include Orthodox Bishops and Priests).

Brian

If I were a bishop I might just be a little worried about driving people away permanently with words that, while true, are too harsh. In today's age, people are easily offended (to be honest, me too).

I suppose things look different when you try to put yourself in their shoes. I think about how poor a job I do of showing what the Church really teaches to my family and friends. It usually results in more toes being stepped on than hearts being changed.

But unlike us, Bishops have a forum. In personal conversations they should take every precaution to choose the right words. No one likes to be beaten over the head with the Bible. Homilies and letters, on the other hand, are the place for bishops to teach the Gospel not tickle our ears.

Brian

What if a mysterious virus were set loose that kills the entire Roman magestirium Pope and all but no one else? Would there be a Roman Church left. (for the sake of aguement include Orthodox Bishops and Priests).

I guess that pre-apocalypse rapture the evangelicals are always talking about would be true. ;-) (I'm very much joking here, please don't take me seriously)

Brian

But seriously, there would have to be a Church because Christ said there would. But there would be no Apostolic Succession. Very tricky indeed. I guess some illicitly ordained non-Catholic bishops who survived would have to realize the Truth and continue the hierararchy of the Church. If they catch the virus and die as soon as they fully accept the Magisterium, then I don't know what would happen.

Would the Church exist without Apostolic succession?

Esau

Would the Church exist without Apostolic succession?


Brian,

I think that's the whole point.

This is the same point we used to capitalize on in our Protestant congregation back in college.

That is (and I will use more PC words here instead of what was actually said), unlike the Roman church who cares about their dwindling numbers as far as their priests are concerned; with us, even if there were not any ministers left, there will always be the one thing that really matters and will continue to, which is the only thing we should care about -- the Word of the Lord -- the Bible -- OUR AUTHORITY!

Slowboy

some illicitly ordained non-Catholic bishops...

Unfortunately the virus is very thourough and specific. It kills anyone validly ordained. (As an aside it leaves a group of women desperately wondering why they were spared. He, He)

Part of my point is that thought experiments like this tend to posit impossible events. Another example whould be to combine the Farinheit 451 senario with mine. No bibles and no magisterium. Would there then be a Church? Now go further. The mysterious virus kills ALL Christians and even everyone who might know anything about Christ or Christianity leaving only pagans.

Brian

That is kind of crazy,

We hardly bat an eye at a world government set on burning every last one of our bibles (ok, well really we would bat a lot of eyes, but we're confident we'd still be able to get by), but all we ask is whatever you do don't take away our bishops (even if our relationship with them is sometimes love-hate).

To a Protestant that sentence must be the heresy of heresies. How is it that we see things so differently?

Esau

Slowboy,

Could you please tell me just what biological marker the virus is targeting in order to zero in on 'Christians'?

I've heard of viruses capable of honing in on folks carrying certain genetic markers, but on their belief systems?

Brian

The mysterious virus kills ALL Christians and even everyone who might know anything about Christ or Christianity leaving only pagans.

Certainly this sounds like it's about the moment where Christ leads the Church Triumphant into battle for the final victory. But since it's a thought experiment, assuming the world does somehow go on...

Well to put it simply the rocks would cry out in praise. Nature would witness to its Creator. The Holy Spirit would still be at work in the world to convert the hearts of men. As they say in show business, the Church must go on, our Lord said it would.

Esau

To a Protestant that sentence must be the heresy of heresies. How is it that we see things so differently?

That's the whole point, Brian.

The Authority by which a Protestant goes by is the Bible Alone -- Sola Scriptura.

That's the whole point behind my 2:15 pm post.

Actually, this was one of the convincing points we used to make when we were evangelizing folks and handing out pamphlets about Jesus and demonstrating the defects about the Catholic Church.

In fact, this was one of the ways we would demonstrate that the Catholic Church was nothing but a man-made institution due to this inherent dependence on its heirarchy, whereas we, on the other hand, only depended on the only thing that really mattered -- the real authority -- the Word, which is the Bible.

Slowboy

Could you please tell me just what biological marker the virus is targeting in order to zero in on 'Christians'?

All Christians are smarter than everyone else as proven by their acceptance of Christianity, thus there is a genetic marker :->>

Seriously, this is a thought experiment thus producing "real" causes are not necessary. Another way to say it would be the same world order that destroys the books is successful in killing the all the Christians and since the Rulers know what Chritians are they then kill themselves.

The real point I'm trying to make is it's a bit unfair to turn to some other group (Sola Scripturians) and propose a Failsafe sort of story that they can't possibly answer and say, "You see. Sola Scriptura can't be true or there would be an answer to my story".

If I were a SS person I would answer similar to Brian's answer. God would save the Bible somehow. There never would be a day when all the written word would be destroyed since God promised to preserve the Church from the gates of Hell. (Bet you didn't know that promise was about the Bible and not Peter)
:->>

Brian: I'm Catholic but just feeling agumentitive and for once I have a little time on my hands.


Cajun Nick

Brian's got it right: The Church must go on because Christ said it would.

Given Slowboy's scenario, I don't know how this would happen; but, miracles are real.

Brian

If all I had were a Bible I'd be in trouble. I was taught the most important things I know. How am I supposed to figure out even the basics on my own. Do you think I'm going to realize that God is one Being consisting of three eternal Persons in perfect communion all by myself? I consider myself a pretty bright guy, but I don't think I'm that bright.

Slowboy

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The scariest catholic apocalyptic book written. Science Fiction from 100 years ago.

It's in Free eBook form.

Esau

If all I had were a Bible I'd be in trouble. I was taught the most important things I know. How am I supposed to figure out even the basics on my own. Do you think I'm going to realize that God is one Being consisting of three eternal Persons in perfect communion all by myself? I consider myself a pretty bright guy, but I don't think I'm that bright.


Brian,
You've latched on to something that most Christians take for granted!

Most don't realize that such dogmatic truths as that regarding the Trinity only came about through the Catholic Church and its Theology.

Give anybody a bible and have them read it without teaching them these Christian basics, and I doubt they'd come to the concept about the Trinity on their own.

francis 03

If every single validly-ordained bishop were killed (and the world didn't end), then IMO a consistent Catholic observer would have to come very close to concluding that the Catholic Church wasn't the real Church of Christ-- because even on its own terms it would seem like gates of Hell would have prevailed against it.

Even after all the priests died, I suppose you could still practice a shell of the faith, in an Albigensian sort of way-- baptize people on their deathbeds so they could die with their sins forgiven. For many decades you could even give them a tiny crumb of viaticum from the consecrated hosts left in tabernacles around the world (presumably the suriving priests would consecrate huge stockpiles before they died). Marriages would probably still be sacramental, if you assume that someone would be left to get rid of all the rules that require dispensations for marriages without an ordained witness. But the magisterial teaching authority of the Church-- against which the gates of Hell aren't supposed to be able to prevail-- would be gone.

But of course, if that conclusion is valid then part of the Catholic faith is believing that those factual events cannot happen-- God won't let them. So far, that belief hasn't been proven false.

Brian

The real point I'm trying to make is it's a bit unfair to turn to some other group (Sola Scripturians) and propose a Failsafe sort of story that they can't possibly answer and say, "You see. Sola Scriptura can't be true or there would be an answer to my story".

But I think the thing that hits home for me is Catholics think the Church could survive without a miracle if all the bibles suddenly went *poof* one night, while if all our Bishops went *poof* we would turn to God for a miracle to preserve his Church.

Protestants on the other hand would be the exact opposite. How can Christians be so perfectly opposed? We're like two poles on the same magnet.

Esau

How can Christians be so perfectly opposed? We're like two poles on the same magnet.


Anybody watch the Original Star Trek Series???

Brian's comment reminds me of that episode about the two warring peoples of that one planet where the only difference between the two was that one had white on one side and black on the other while the other folks were vice-versa???

-- By the way, if there's an avid TOS fan out there, I'd appreciate knowing the title of this episode, too, if you happen to know it! ;^)

Brian

If we only lost the hierarchy we wouldn't be left all alone with only our Bibles. We would still have priests and deacons and all the rest of Catholic culture. We would still have the encyclicals and writings of the Fathers and Tradition, but we would no longer have the Authority to preserve Tradition and keep people from changing it. We'd basically be like the first Protestants (very much Catholic yet without the Authority). Would we fare better or worse than our separated brothers?

francis 03

Hey, here's another question about how Catholics would regard the Bible, after it went from writing to memory and back to writing: how does the relevant language work here? Would someone have to have memorized the Vulgate, or would an English edition suffice? If the latter, could you then translate the English edition into other languages? Would that still be the Word of God? What if the only edition anybody remembered was an extremely loose English paraphrase?

Maybe someone can answer my more general question: when does the Church say that the "inspired" process of creating Scripture ended, and the non-inspired process of translating and transcribing begin? Presumably we'd have to have an "original" version of inspired Sripture in the post-451 world in order for it to be the real Bible. But does this mean that a Joseph-Smith-style "insofar as they are correctly translated" caveat apply to the Catholic understanding of the authenticity of Scripture?

I may be totally wrong about a lot of this. I'm hoping someone can enlighten me.

Slowboy

To Francis 03:

My answer is: The Church is ALIVE. The Holy Spirit breaths life in the Church each day. We see the nuts and bolts of Bishops making decisions about whether this is valid or that is not but it is the Holy Spirit "remembering" in the Church. If we had only a Russian and an English version of the Bibles left the Church would come together and make it the "real" Bible, not cause we are so smart, but because the Holy Spirit is there saying, "I remember, I know."

Outta here for the night.

Esau

Maybe someone can answer my more general question: when does the Church say that the "inspired" process of creating Scripture ended, and the non-inspired process of translating and transcribing begin? Presumably we'd have to have an "original" version of inspired Sripture in the post-451 world in order for it to be the real Bible. But does this mean that a Joseph-Smith-style "insofar as they are correctly translated" caveat apply to the Catholic understanding of the authenticity of Scripture?


Actually, what francis 03 has mentioned here reminds me of the so-called dilemma regarding various folks who claim that the Books of the Bible that we think we have are really later versions of Scripture that actually carry subsequent additions and are not even the originally inspired Scripture handed on by the Apostles and their associates.

On the other hand, on the matter strictly concerning bible translations, there are those who might think that the English translation that we actually have don't carry the same 'inspired' weight that the Scripture has in its original language since the translation might not actually be accurate.

Brian

Frances,

I can probably only scratch the surface of the depth of your question, but here's my go at it. We'd still have the Authority of the Church to create a written bible by piecing together oral fragments and vouch for its authenticity. I think the inspired part of the bible ended with the Apostles. The Holy Spirit would certainly guide the Church in creating the first written Bible after the revolution, but this wouldn't be divine inspiration.

The Church being Catholic, I would guess it would create a Latin bible first and use it to create translations in other languages. But if somehow the only people who remembered the bible spoke English and only remembered it in paraphrases and there were no more Latin speaking biblical scholars left in the world then the Church would probably do its best to reassemble the bible in English from people's paraphrasing. The Holy Spirit would have His work cut out for Him, but the result would be the Bible. There would be no asterisks or caveats.

francis 03

I'm interested, Brian and Slowboy (maybe you can pick this up tomorrow). So would the reconstructed Bible be identical to the old Bible? Would it have to be?

Brian

It's kind of sad that all three answers pretty much say the same thing. Unity is great and all, and the Church certainly needs to turn to Christ for a lot more of it. But then again sometimes unity is boring.

Esau

We'd still have the Authority of the Church to create a written bible by piecing together oral fragments and vouch for its authenticity.


Brian,

I think what frances 03 is trying to point out here is --

Yes, we know the original Scriptures in their original languages are inspired.

But what of their translations?

Among other things, the translations would need to be accurate.

Now, if it came to the point where in this Apocalyptic 451 scenario you had folks memorize parts of a certain English translation of the bible, if we were to compile their memorized passages on paper, would what we put on paper even be considered 'inspired' Scripture if the translation itself was not accurate and was really 'loosey-goosey'?

That is, say we finally compile all the memorized verses from such folks and, thus, resurrect the 'bible', or, at least, a version that was the end result of compiling all these memorized verses; would this new bible be considered 'inspired' and 'inerrant' when they may be based on faulty memorized passages?

Esau

Unity is great and all, and the Church certainly needs to turn to Christ for a lot more of it. But then again sometimes unity is boring.

If that's your point-of-view, do you really want a world that's 'Catholic'?

Brian

I'm interested, Brian and Slowboy (maybe you can pick this up tomorrow). So would the reconstructed Bible be identical to the old Bible? Would it have to be?

I don't think it necessarily would. I don't think the actual words would have to be the exactly the same, but it would say the exact same thing as it did before. If you think about it the Bible itself isn't rigid. 100 people can read it and come up with 100 different conclusions. In this sense its not the exact wording that's quite as important. If it was, Bibles would be copies of the oldest surviving manuscripts we have and we'd all learn to read Hebrew and Greek and all the languages they're written in.

The Holy Spirit would ensure that the newly written Bible records the Word of God, which doesn't necessarily have to be the exact wording of some previous version of the Bible. And the Holy Spirit would also preserve Tradition so that we could interpret it.

francis 03

For the record, I'm male. It's francis. And Esau is stating my question accurately. My tendency is to think that the Church would consider such a reconstituted Bible as slightly less than the inspired Word of God, because any mistakes or anachronisms in the translation would be frozen into the "canon" forever. But this raises a problem for me-- if they correctly remembered some English translation that we're using now, then is that "slightly less than the inspired Word of God?" If not, why not? Because we can check it against the Vulgate, or whatever the "original" inspired work is? But that's subject to the same kinds of mistakes or inaccuracies as the original translation was.

Brian

If that's your point-of-view, do you really want a world that's 'Catholic'?

I guess I better get used to it if I want to end up in Heaven. ;-)

Brian

Sorry Francis

francis 03

The Holy Spirit would ensure that the newly written Bible records the Word of God,

Would He? He doesn't ensure that translations are accurate, does He?

Esau

francis 03,

My apologies for the typo in my post as regards your name.

But, what you raised here is one very good inquiry; something I, too, have wondered myself.

That is, we know that the Original Scripture was, in fact, inspired and inerrant.

But what of our English-translated bibles?

Do they actually carry the same?

Steven CC

First, permit me a question about the gates of hell not prevailing...

We usually find "gates" in city walls (I think the word is "pulai" in Matthew in the original Greek). So the gates of hell could not prevail against Christ and His Church. Christ was on the offensive, as we saw with the Crucifixion and Resurrection. Gates would have a defensive connotation here. Why would "gates" (as opposed to banners or something mobile) ever have an offensive connotation? I honestly don't get it.

As for the topic of a world without a Bible, an Orthodox saint once said something on point. For some reason I'm drawing a blank, and I can't remember the quote precisely, or even who said it. Forgive me. But basically, he said that even if every Bible was destroyed in some cataclysm, we could re-write based on the experience of the saints.

After all, the Bible's a lot more than a chronicle (St. John the Apostle and Theologian notes that there are plenty of anecdotes that weren't written down). The Bible's worth comes from its iconicity, its presentation of the truths of God. It's an icon drawn with words. It's an icon of the One True Icon of God, Christ.

Christ is Risen!

Brian

Because we can check it against the Vulgate, or whatever the "original" inspired work is? But that's subject to the same kinds of mistakes or inaccuracies as the original translation was.

I think this is why the Bible is dependent on Tradition. The actual wording of the bible, even the oldest translation of that passage we can find, is not necessarily as important as a translation of that passage combined with Tradition.

So my answer is that because of the Authority of the Church the new Bible would have the exact same inspired weight of the old Bible (except if they use the footnotes from the NAB ;-) ).

Esau

Sorry Francis

Brian:

Glad I wasn't the only one! *wipes brow*

Again, apologies, francis 03 -- believe me, it wasn't personal.

Ed Pie

By the way, if there's an avid TOS fan out there, I'd appreciate knowing the title of this episode, too, if you happen to know

Esau, it's "Let that be your last battlefield."


Making the only contribution I can,
Ed

Slowboy

(except if they use the footnotes from the NAB ;-) ).


You beat me to it.

Same answer. Tradition/Holy Spirit. Maybe the words different but still inspired.

BYE

Brian

I feel almost bad talking about the Bible this way. It makes the Bible seem so weak and, I don't know, something...

But I guess that's how it works. We all read translations of translations of Bibles. It's the Holy Spirit who makes it all work, both personally as we read or hear it read and through the Magisterium.

Esau

Esau, it's "Let that be your last battlefield."


Making the only contribution I can,
Ed


Ed Pie,

Brother, U are 'DA MAN'!!!

THANK-YOU & GOD BLESS YOU!!!

Esau

But I guess that's how it works. We all read translations of translations of Bibles. It's the Holy Spirit who makes it all work, both personally as we read or hear it read


Brian,
I don't quite know about that.

For example, there are actually certain translations out there that fall flat on their faces.

Did you ever hear of the 'Ebonics' version of the Bible?

I mean, would that also be considered 'inspired' and 'inerrant'?

In other words, personally, I feel that the translations need to provide as close to the original as possible in order to be deemed as 'inspired' and 'inerrant' as the original itself.

Brian

For example, there are actually certain translations out there that fall flat on their faces.

Hmm... You've just taken me out of my comfort zone

I gotta go so I can't comment deeply. One thing is that those versions are not approved by the Church. But I think there are very good Bibles that aren't. You're right, you can't apply what I said to every Bible. But certainly the Bible the Church assembles after F451 will be just as inspired as before - the Holy Spirit won't let us down.

JoAnna

Esau - the TOS episode you're thinking of is titled is Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. :)

Esau

Esau - the TOS episode you're thinking of is titled is Let That Be Your Last Battlefield. :)

Whoa!

Thanks JoAnna!

You went even further than Ed Pie -- You got me a 'link'!!! =^)

Cool!

Dr. Eric

The Orthodox consider the Byzantine manuscripts to be the authoritative sources since they were translated into Byzantine Greek from the Original Koine. That would have been like translating Elizabethan English to Modern UK English. Or so they say.

Esau

It's kind of sad that all three answers pretty much say the same thing. Unity is great and all, and the Church certainly needs to turn to Christ for a lot more of it. But then again sometimes unity is boring.


Brian,
I was going back to what you said here.

Based on this perspective, would there really be a benefit to humanity if the whole world actually became 'Catholic'?

Wouldn't a 'Catholic' world be too uniform to the extent that you'd have what you've come to describe here -- folks thinking in a similar manner to the very extent that their thoughts are all actually similar (cloned, if you like) as a direct result of being products of a uniform belief system?

I mean, if diversity of thought (which would certainly include belief systems) in humanity is actually what's responsible for its progress and technological advancements, would humanity suffer or benefit from a 'Catholic' world?

Mary

Here's something that might make the conversation a little more interesting. Our Catholic traditions are dwindling today. I imagine these traditions made up the backbone of the persecuted early Church. If Fahrenheit 451 happened today would we have what it takes to make it through?

Of course. The gates of hell will not prevail.

Remember that you can tell the Catholic Church is the one Jesus founded because it lasted 2000 years in spite of the Catholics' very best efforts.

Dan Hunter

Esau,
The Holy Ghost wants a gigantic and holy Church.
There is no other alternative.
God created every man woman and child to know,love and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next,
End of story and God bless mankind.

Brian

Esau,

I said it jokingly, but...

Based on this perspective, would there really be a benefit to humanity if the whole world actually became 'Catholic'?

Well, yes, that is afterall what we're called to do.

Wouldn't a 'Catholic' world be too uniform to the extent that you'd have what you've come to describe here -- folks thinking in a similar manner to the very extent that their thoughts are all actually similar (cloned, if you like) as a direct result of being products of a uniform belief system?

No, a Catholic world is what we look forward to in heaven. There's a difference between truth and opinion. God wants us all to love the truth. God also wants us all to be individuals. We can see this in the great diversity present in the Catholic Church. No one else has the diversity of religious orders or ways of living the faith that the Church does.

I mean, if diversity of thought (which would certainly include belief systems) in humanity is actually what's responsible for its progress and technological advancements, would humanity suffer or benefit from a 'Catholic' world?

Umm diversity doesn't mean falsehoods. A world without falsehood would leave nothing but true diversity.

Slowboy

The Dawn of All. Again: Robert Hugh Benson's other science fiction story based on the idea of what would a world run by the Roman Catholic church look like.

Written almost 100 years ago Fr. Benson paints a beutiful story.

labrialumn

Some of you write as though there is a gnostic tradition passed from bishop through bishop through the centuries. That it is memorized the way the ancient bards memorized the histories of their peoples. And that this has never been written down.

That therefore this is more reliable than something that is written down and where we have a high degree of confidence of finest details of the original text.

You've got to be kidding.

china?

Here's a scenario... all the bishops are killed except for one illicitly ordained in China.

You know what, though, the gates of hell have tried their hardest to prevail against the Church (Mt. 16:18 or 18:16) and they haven't succeeded yet. I think we're gonna be okay.

Tim J.

Of course the original autographs were the result of Divine inspiration, but I would think it was the content of scripture, not so much the format, that we would call the Word of God.

So, if someone were doing a recitation of the Gospel of Mark from memory, would it make sense to say that this was not the Word of God I was hearing, just because it was not read from a written page? I think not.

Even IF the Bible were somehow taken from us (God forbid!) we would still have the Gospel.

Tim J.

labrialumn-

I don't see where anyone has said anything like that.

I don't doubt, though, that the Bible could be put back together from the collective memory of the people of God, AND that it would not even take that long AND that it would be highly accurate... as close as makes no odds.

Are you a L'Abri Alumn? I have read most of the works of Francis Schaeffer and find he makes some very good observations, especially about the disastrous results of the divorce of Faith and Reason. Being an artist, I also appreciate his comments on the importance of the arts.

The sub-heading on my blog is "Life, Truth, Beauty, Unity"

francis 03

Again, apologies, francis 03 -- believe me, it wasn't personal.

Honestly, it wasn't a big deal-- I'm almost embarassed by how much consternation I seem to have caused you guys. It's after Francis of Assissi (and the Trinity), by the way.

Anyhow, I guess what we're getting at here is a change in our point of view. When we're just puny insignificant little Catholics, we can pick up the Bible and say "this is Scripture because the Church says so." But when we put on our hubris hats and speculate about apocalyptic scenarios, we start asking WHAT exactly the Church SHOULD say in such-and-such a situation. So maybe we're just treading where we have no business being.

Still, each of us is part of the Church, right? So I guess what I'm asking is-- what would your personal opinion be about the status of a reconstituted Bible, with the original existing only in English? What if it were the King James Version? What if it were the text message version that CNN reported on a few weeks ago? What if it included passages that seemed totally heretical, but were the best that anybody could remember? What if the only people who could remember the Bible could only remember it in Maori-- and their version had been translated from English, which had been translated from German, which had been translated from a non-Vulgate Latin source? What if the Bible was only remembered in some sort of highly-abstract pictorial language?

This is so fun.

francis 03

Tim J., I overlooked what you said about the reconstituted Bible being "highly accurate." I guess what I'm asking is, accurate to what? To the New American Bible that everybody memorized? But is that "the Word of God?" Or would people's memories be accurate to some other "authoritative" version such as the Vulgate? That's what I'm curious about.

francis 03

Caveat-- of course the NAB is the Word of God. I'm just trying to figure out what exactly that means.

SLowboy

Tim J., I overlooked what you said about the reconstituted Bible being "highly accurate." I guess what I'm asking is, accurate to what?

Slowboy's answer:

Accurate to what God said and did.

BobCatholic

Actually, this thought experiment is not unrealistic.

This happened in Rome in the early centuries. This happens in countries where Catholicism is oppressed heavily.

And the fact we even HAVE a Bible is because of the Catholic Church.

SLowboy

The flip experiment I alsways ask myself is: If you could find an island of people with no exposure to the rest of the world,airdrop a bible for each person, in their language, and come back and check in 50 years. Would you find a dozen little white steeples with Baptist communities, one large gothic church or a disaster of 1000 competing "christian" religions.

Esau

The flip experiment I alsways ask myself is: If you could find an island of people with no exposure to the rest of the world,airdrop a bible for each person, in their language, and come back and check in 50 years. Would you find a dozen little white steeples with Baptist communities, one large gothic church or a disaster of 1000 competing "christian" religions.


Slowboy:

What would be intresting is to observe (after a significant period of time has passed) just what their concept of 'Christianity' would be.

That is, would they actually come up with such doctrines such as the 'Trinity'?

Remember, most of the basic Christian doctrines that the Reformers took with them to establish and build their individual Protestant bodies were essentially elements that came from the Catholic Faith.

I'd be curious as to what form of 'Christianity' these peoples would actually have.

Now, without the Tradition passed on by the Apostles to their successors, I'd venture to guess that their form of Christianity might be strikingly different from ours.

Not to mention, if they were cannibals, the passage:

Jn 6:53:
53 Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.

... would carry a very different meaning for them!

Esau

Of course the original autographs were the result of Divine inspiration, but I would think it was the content of scripture, not so much the format, that we would call the Word of God.


Tim J.,

I would argue with what you've said here because you seem to neglect the fact that the translation of the bible isn't just about format, but is exactly responsible for content.

If a translation of the bible doesn't genuinely present what the Original Scriptures says, then it's not the Scriptures.

That is, if its contents do not even agree and reflect what the original manuscript actually says; then, how can you even argue that, nevertheless, this translation is still 'Scripture'?


To put this into the extreme, here's the Ebonic translation of the Our Father:


Big Daddy's Rap (The Lord's Prayer)

Yo, Bid Daddy upstairs (Our Father, who art in heaven)

You be chillin (Hallowed be thy name)

So be yo hood (Thy Kingdom come)

You be sayin' it, I be doin' it (Thy will be done)

In this here hood and yo's (On earth as it is in heaven)

Gimme some eats (Give us this day our daily bread)

And cut me some slack, (And forgive us our trespasses)

Sos I be doin' it to dem dat diss me (As we forgive those who trespass against us)

don't be pushing me into no jive (And lead us not into temptation)

and keep dem Crips away (But deliver us from evil)

'Cause you always be da Man (For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.)

Aaa-men (Amen)

erick

Esau---
This has nothing to do with anything!!!!--- but you have me laughing my guts out for the past 10-15 min---with this e-bonics thing....
Sorry.....!

Esau

but you have me laughing my guts out for the past 10-15 min---with this e-bonics thing....

erick:
Brother, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

By the way, if you're interested, there's even a Rap Bible out there as well!

Have a great weekend!

erick

Snoop-Dog, edition?.


........See ya'.

Tim J.

"If a translation of the bible doesn't genuinely present what the Original Scriptures says, then it's not the Scriptures."

Sure, I'm down wit dat.

What I guess I'm trying to say is, as long as the original Divinely Inspired point is expressed accurately, does it matter whether it is Old English or Norse?... written, spoken, signed... what have you? Isn't it still God's Word? Human language - even at it's best - wraps around these truths only in an analogous and incomplete way to begin with. It has always been the Word of God in the words of men. This is why the Church is such a necessary thing... the INHERENT vaguearies of language make much of the text open to misinterpretation going out the gate.

Of COURSE if it's a bad translation, it will obscure rather than express the original meaning - that's almost the definition of a bad translation - and to that extent it would not be the Word of God.

Take for instance John 3:16. The whole WORLD would know if they got THAT wrong. Then there are any number of other passages familiar to the Christian faithful that would be easy to reconstruct. But there are, I would bet, a surprisingly large number of people - from many countries and languages - intimately familiar with large chunks of scripture that the rest of us might not know as well. Think of all the Rabbis that could help out with the Torah and the rest of the OT... and the NT is comparatively short.

Esau

Actually, the long-awaited Motu Proprio was really about this -- that for now on, we're to say the Our Father at Mass this way, with the priest wearing a big clock around his neck (like that guy Flavor Flav) leading the congregation:


Ordo Missae Cum Populo - 2007 "Gangsta" Edition

Priest (with large clock around neck):

My peeps, let's roll with the Lord, givin' Him props and love

Congregation:

Yo, Bid Daddy upstairs (Our Father, who art in heaven)

You be chillin (Hallowed be thy name)

So be yo hood (Thy Kingdom come)

You be sayin' it, I be doin' it (Thy will be done)

In this here hood and yo's (On earth as it is in heaven)

Gimme some eats (Give us this day our daily bread)

And cut me some slack, (And forgive us our trespasses)

Sos I be doin' it to dem dat diss me (As we forgive those who trespass against us)

don't be pushing me into no jive (And lead us not into temptation)

and keep dem Crips away (But deliver us from evil)

'Cause you always be da Man (For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory forever and ever.)

Aaa-men (Amen)

-- Sorry, folks. I couldn't help it!

Sean

Regarding the virus it seems to me that the Church is not confined by time and space so as long as there are saints in heaven and souls in purgatory the Church is.

francis 03

If you could find an island of people with no exposure to the rest of the world,airdrop a bible for each person, in their language, and come back and check in 50 years.

Without a living, breathing witness of what the love of Christ means, I'm guessing you'd find an island with no churches at all.

What I guess I'm trying to say is, as long as the original Divinely Inspired point is expressed accurately, does it matter whether it is Old English or Norse?...

Agreed. But how do you know whether it's expressed accurately? Translation is a human process right-- which means it's subject to error. So insofar as a human translator makes mistakes, is his version of the Bible no longer the Word of God? If that's the case, seems to me that a reconstituted Bible would be at least suspect-- if it weren't in the "original" inspired language (and I don't know what that is-- the Vulgate?) then a couple of things follow: (1) People would be forced to take it on faith that it was an accurate translation to start out with. Maybe not so bad, this would just require solid work on the part of the original translators and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in helping people recall all the verses. (2) If you tried to translate this version to any other language-- or even to update it in light of chances in its own language several decades down the road-- you'd be stuck trying to translate fron a non-original source, with the possibility of significant distorition of ideas. The latter is what seems kind of problematic to me.

Some Day

Well we will have what happend with the 70 Hebrew wise men of Alexandria.

They all individualy said the same thing.

Plus St.Augustine I believe was the one that said that he believes in the Bible because the Church tell him too.

tiber's getting warmer...

"The flip experiment I alsways ask myself is: If you could find an island of people with no exposure to the rest of the world,airdrop a bible for each person, in their language, and come back and check in 50 years. Would you find a dozen little white steeples with Baptist communities, one large gothic church or a disaster of 1000 competing "christian" religions"

Supposedly, that experiment has been done. Western missionaries (Protestant) are said to have briefly stopped by a Japanese island on their way somewhere else, and in passing managed to evangelize & baptize 2 young men. They then gave the men a copy of the Bible (in Japanese, presumably) and went on their way.


Decades later, during WW2, American troops encountered this village. The village sent ambassadors - 2 old men out to them to ask why the Americans were coming in shooting, as they were not hostile and that they were "brothers". (I guess they assumed all Americans were Christians).


The two old men, were in fact the youths that had encountered the missionaries decades earlier. In the intervening time, they had evangelized the rest of the village and the whole lot of them had reoorganized the culture from the ground up -- literally. One of the things that impressed our troops greatly was that this village, besides being highly moral and pious, was also exceptionally clean and orderly, in contrast to the usual village filth the troops encountered elsewhere. Apparently the converts had taken it upon themselves to follow the Levitical sanitation laws, to the great benefit to their health. ("Cleanliness is next to Godliness" -- John Wesley)


When a certain Freerepublic poster (Catholic) proudly contrasted himself to evangelicals by proclaiming, "My faith wasn't reverse engineered from the Bible", I could only think of the noble example of this village which did exactly that.

Esau

Tiber's Getting Warmer,

That's not the same thing as what Slowboy suggested.

He suggested to have a bible air-dropped.


The story you related:

Supposedly, that experiment has been done. Western missionaries (Protestant) are said to have briefly stopped by a Japanese island on their way somewhere else, and in passing managed to evangelize & baptize 2 young men.

... actually bears witness to the fact that when something is handed down via tradition (this was, in fact, what happened here since these missionaires evangelized these people in addition to leaving them with the bible), it gets preserved and maintained all on down.

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