First Century A.D.: no ‘written’ Bible but the Holy Eucharist

Something for the “Bible Alone” crowd to chew over.

[Altar from the Church of the Multiplication, built along the shores of Galilee over the stone that Jesus used to perform the miracle of the loaves & fish.]

[Altar from the Church of the Multiplication, built along the shores
of Galilee over the stone that Jesus used to perform the miracle of the loaves & fish.]

If you walked into a first-century church and asked to see a copy of the New Testament, you’d get a bunch of confused looks and faces.

“What do you mean a copy?”

The Bible didn’t yet exist!

For the early Christians, “New Testament” was not a book, but a sacramental phrase.

“The New Testament” was the Holy Eucharist itself.

When Our Lord Jesus Christ offered a cup of wine to His disciples at the Last Supper, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant in my blood,” His Apostles would have understood Him to say, “This cup is the New Testament in my blood.” For the early Biblical writers, the words “testament” and “covenant” were interchangeable.

ImageProxy-1.mvc

In his new book “Consuming The Word: The New Testament and the Eucharist in the Early Church”, Dr. Scott Hahn explains the details of his Biblical research that unites the documents of the New Testament and the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The words “covenant”, “testament”, “liturgy”, and “Eucharist” are all interconnected in profound ways that we do not realise on the surface. When these terms are used without understanding them, we are separated from the mystery experienced in the words of our Faith. So to understand Christianity’s most basic terms, we must see them as the early Christians did.

For them, the phrase “New Testament” was at once sacramental and liturgical. It affirmed that the Bible’s proper home was in “the heart of the Church.”

“God reveals Himself and gives Himself in the scroll.” – Scott Hahn

Christians were meant to consume the Word of God made flesh in the Eucharist (at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass) and the Word of God made written in Sacred Scripture. Today, we must follow the early Christians by communing with Our Blessed Lord through both letter and Spirit. They cannot be divided.

According to St. Pope John Paul II, Catholics dine at two tables:

“One of the Word of God, the other of the Eucharist. The work that we take on ourselves consists in approaching these two tables in order to be filled.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to First Century A.D.: no ‘written’ Bible but the Holy Eucharist

  1. Roger says:

    The essence of Covenant was always the Holy Sacrifice. You find this in the Old Testament sic Cain and Abel. Melchisdeck has bread and wine. However the only place where a Blood sacrifice was permitted was in the Temple! With the synagogues the scrolls (word) takes pride of place.
    But the Temple had the Holy of Holies The presence of God Shalleck prescence.
    Please don’t go over border with this article. Although the New Testament wasn’t as it were put together the Old especially the Setupgient was known.
    The twin pillars of the Faith are Tradition and the Word. Both do not make the mistake of over emphasising one against the other.
    St John (according to tradition) was still around 100 AD.
    Sacrifice and especially Jerusalem and a Blood Sacrifice (sic Bethlehem and the pascal Lamb) are intimately linked. Rome will come to an End (the early fathers knew this). The Church is on a journey a road back to the lost Paradise.
    If you do not believe me ask simply what was the purpose of the Passion if not the restoration (complete) Restoration of what had been Lost

    Like

  2. toadspittle says:

    “For the early Biblical writers, the words “testament” and “covenant” were interchangeable.”
    Would the words also have been “interchangeable” for the Apostles?
    …In either case, how do we know that?
    “Interchangeable” words can cause a shoot-load of trouble.
    As we know.

    Like

  3. Roger says:

    Toad during that first century as far as the Romans were concerned the Christians were Jews! The Christians suffered actually by association. The Bible? well St Paul’s works simply show that the New is to be found in the Old.
    The Old talks of Prophets but these are Saints, seers and visionaries. The Papacy itself was given in this private capacity. The Author of the Old and the New is of course the same. If you look at the Acts there was a tension between Jews (circumcised) and Gentiles. What is the Big difference? The Passion which opened Heaven and the sacraments (vessels of Life , Divine Life). BC and AD men exactly that!
    Throw out and walk away from any (be that prelate or Pope) who would deny Creation , the Fall and the Passion.

    Like

  4. GC says:

    I always think that the scriptures are part of “Tradition”. They are bits of (oral?)Tradition that have been cleverly writtied* down.

    The Church confirmed them as Tradition over the period of a few hundred years and handed them down: “Tradition” again. Many writings they did not confirm: the apocryphal writings.

    All of the Word of God was at one time passed on orally…Sacred Tradition. Eventually, some of Sacred Tradition was written down…this became Sacred Scripture, which is written tradition. However, Scripture itself tells us that not all of the things that Jesus said and did were written down. And listen to what Paul says about “tradition”:

    2 Thes 2:15, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.” Traditions! Traditions taught by word of mouth, in other words, oral tradition, and traditions taught by letter.

    http://www.catholicscomehome.org/scripture-and-tradition/

    I suppose for many protestants the scriptures fell out of the sky and hit them on the head. Just like the Qur’an (well, sort of).

    * ® Rabit

    Like

  5. mkenny114 says:

    Toad,

    Seeing as the New Testament was written by either Apostles themselves, or close followers of the Apostles (e.g.; Mark and Luke), then yes I would assume that the equivalence of these two words (or the meanings signified by them at least) would have been known to them.

    Furthermore, the NT was written in Greek, and the Greek word translated as either ‘testament’ or ‘covenant’ is the same one – diatheke, which is itself a translation (albeit one with an extra meaning of ‘last will and testament’ – which double meaning is exploited in Hebrews 9:15-22) of the Hebrew word berith. Berith is used at several points in the OT, but most significantly for the topic at hand, is found in Jeremiah 31:31, a key text for the apostolic Church (and presumably Jesus Himself, who guided their method of interpreting the OT – c.f.; Luke 24:44-47).

    The writers of the NT (i.e.; the Apostles) filled it with allusions to the OT, and made it very clear that they saw Jesus to be the fulfilment of all the OT prophecies, including those about a new covenant to be made between God and His people. Jesus also very clearly saw Himself in these terms, and when He spoke the words at the Last Supper about the new covenant in His blood, it is a plain appeal to the fact that the Sacrifice He would make of Himself on the Cross would inaugurate this new covenant.

    The overall point here though is that, as Kathleen’s article makes abundantly clear, the phrase which we either hear as ‘new testament’ or ‘new covenant’ would not have brought to mind a collection of books (which for the very earliest Christians, would not even have been written yet, and for later generations, would not have been formally canonised as the single collection we know today until much later) but the words of the Last Supper, which act then and now as the central interpretive key linking the Holy Eucharist to the events of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. The collection of books, when finally given a name, was named for this central series of events (and the words spoken by Christ) not the other way around.

    As for how we know all this – we know it the same way as we know anything else, by receiving it from an authority we know on other grounds to be trustworthy. Incidentally though, the NT documents (which are the major source of evidence that has been handed down to us) is the most widely attested and reliable set of documents in the ancient world by far, and the claims made by the Church about those documents’ dating etc, is being increasingly corroborated by examination of codices, textual criticism and archaeological discoveries from the period.

    Btw, if you’re in the mood for a Bible study (and I know you will be!), Scott Hahn has some excellent ones at his Saint Paul’s Institute, including this one on covenant in the Bible 🙂

    http://www.salvationhistory.com/studies/courses/online/covenant_love

    Like

  6. mkenny114 says:

    Very good point GC!

    On that topic (of Scripture being a part of Tradition, rather than their being two separate things), there is a really good post here, from the excellent ‘Lonely Pilgrim’ site:

    http://lonelypilgrim.com/2014/07/26/the-prior-authority-of-tradition/

    Like

  7. kathleen says:

    Yes – thank you very much Michael and GC for your excellent comments.
    I was just composing a reply to Roger (affirming GC’s linking of “Tradition” to the Scriptures) when Michael’s in-depth scholarly insights appeared. I could not add anything more to what you have both already explained so brilliantly. 🙂

    Shall now take a look at your interesting-looking links.

    Like

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    hmmmm, the more recent research does seem to be painting a slightly different picture, and some of what has been suggested above by various people is actually inaccurate in the light of these new discoveries, or otherwise implausible in the light of the more recently developed theories.

    First, the more recent research is increasingly suggesting that (with possible exceptions for 1 or 2 of the Epistles) all of the separate texts comprising the New Testament were written between about 35 AD and about 69 AD — which is entirely incompatible with the old 19th century theory that “the scriptures are part of “Tradition”. They are bits of (oral?)Tradition that have been cleverly writtied* down” — the Gospel of Mark can very plausibly be dated to 35-40 AD, so to within well below 15 years after the start of Christ’s public Ministry, which is NOT AT ALL supportive of the notion that there might have been some sort of prior “oral Gospel” (other than the Lord Himself, of course !!!) that may have came into being from multiple different sources over the course of a century or so. This dating also pretty much destroys the Q theory.

    There are even some suggestions that an earlier Gospel of Matthew existed, written in Hebrew, in which case the Matthew that we have now would be a revised second edition, in Greek, incorporating some contents derived from Mark and Luke — rather than just being a straightforward translation of that earlier first edition. (it also seems not at all unlikely that Hebrews was written originally in Hebrew, and Romans in Latin, and the textual oddities of Hebrews are in any case supportive of whichever complex origin of the text)

    Really though, the description of the transition of the early Christians from teaching in a mainly oral manner to teaching on the basis of universally recognised written texts — is found in the Bible ; Acts 15.

    There, if you look at the content and subtext of that chapter, it is easily seen that faced with problems created by variant interpretations of some oral teachings, the Council of the Apostles decided to start committing the Christian teachings into officially approved texts to be distributed to the Church — this is NOT supportive of the 19th/20th century revisionist theories that the Church remained as an exclusively oral tradition until the late 1st & early 2nd centuries ; NOR however is it supportive of the sola scriptura heresy of the Protestants, as it is just as clearly seen that both speech and text were — and are — central to the Christian Tradition. As a personal literary analysis, I would view Acts 15 as a historical account of the decision that would eventually lead to the creation of the New Testament itself — and certainly an account of the direct Apostolic and Ecclesial origin of the Epistles, rather than these having simply been written independently by each individual author and then later collected & bla bla bla &c ad nauseam …

    Furthermore, I would disagree with Scott Hahn’s basic literary assumptions concerning the origin of these texts, and their place among the early Church — for starters, right from the start, after the Pentecost anyway, the Christians would gather together for the Sunday Mass, which was preceded by some hours of readings from the sacred texts and hearing the Christian teachings from the Apostles, Disciples, Elders, then Priests and Deacons, and discussing these things among themselves — and even before the first Epistles were written and published, the Christians would hear readings from the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) ; and within 10 years after the Crucifixion, the first Gospel was in existence as a written and published text.

    Many of the more revisionist 19th century theories, that seem to be having a hard time dying, even among Catholics, are BTW based on what seems like a crass ignorance of the sheer effectiveness of the ancient Greek & Roman system of book publication — a vast and extremely well-organised infrastructure of copyists and book sellers existed throughout the Roman Empire at the time, and had been in existence at that point for already hundreds of years. Bestsellers would be distributed in hundreds, sometimes thousands of generally quite faithful copies made by highly trained professionals ; most texts that have survived from this period are bestsellers that kept on being re-copied into the Mediaeval period.

    So much for the so-called “purely oral” early Church of these revisionist/atheist modern myths.

    ___________

    … which of course changes not a jot the Fact that the Sacrifice and the Eucharist and the Covenant are One ; nor the Fact that the Scripture is indeed “a part of Tradition, rather than their being two separate things

    ___________

    the phrase which we either hear as ‘new testament’ … would not have brought to mind a collection of books (which for the very earliest Christians, would not even have been written yet, and for later generations, would not have been formally canonised as the single collection we know today until much later)

    In fact, the texts of the NT were written during the lifetime of those earliest Christians, well, the post-Pentecost ones that is, and these texts began being put together into informal collections of texts in the First Century AD — the earliest Latin translations of the NT (the Vetus Latina) are early 2nd Century at the latest.

    ___________

    Roger : … during that first century as far as the Romans were concerned the Christians were Jews!

    hmmmm, this statement is hard to reconcile with the fact that the word “Christian” was created by the Romans, and with the fact that in the earliest surviving Roman texts concerning the Church, the Christians are clearly described as being distinct from the Jews.

    Like

  9. GC says:

    Jabba, in 2 Thessalonians 2:15 above, we see that Paul refers to (spoken) words and “letters” (ἐπιστολῆς – epistolis), which were by the sound of it HIS letters and those of his associates. No mention of any accounts of Jesus’ life, teachings and other activities, as we see in the “gospels”. A glaring omission?

    Like

  10. JabbaPapa says:

    Several of the Epistles were written were written prior to the first of the Gospels on the one hand, secondly if we are to start nit-picking literal meanings of individual words then ἐπιστολή means “messages”, literally, rather than “letters”, thirdly — do you personally, every time you wrote an internet forum post, ensure to make crystal clear every important detail of your Christian knowledge and belief, or are you instead happy to leave certain things as if taken for granted ? Paul’s non-mention of the Gospels in that verse is not meaningful in and of itself.

    Though, actually, the word Gospel does appear at 2 Thessalonians 2:13 BTW, and as to whether this signifies a written Gospel, or the general “Good News” that Christ is Risen, or both simultaneously, from the author’s point of view, is possibly unclear — but I do find it curious that you claim an omission to mention “the Gospel” in a text where it is specifically mentioned.

    Like

  11. mkenny114 says:

    Jabba,

    Whilst it is good to have a fuller examination of the relationship between Scripture and Tradition such as you have laid out here, and further testimony to the early dating of the New Testament documents, I think you are looking for disagreement where there is none.

    All that was claimed previously, both in Kathleen’s post and in the comments that followed, was that there was no such formal, definitively canonized collection of texts, referred to as ‘the New Testament’ until a while later after the events, but that the celebration of the New Testament/Covenant established by Christ in the Holy Eucharist took place from the very beginning.

    Regardless of how soon after the events the NT documents were written (and I agree with you that very early dates for all of them can now be confidently established – something I alluded to in my previous comment) it is clear that there would have been a period where none of these texts existed, but the Holy Mass did; and furthermore, that even after they were written, no formally canonized collection such as we know it (despite the fact that yes, collections of texts were put together early on, for public reading, etc), and referred to explicitly as ‘the New Testament’ existed. This formal definition of the inclusion of some books and not others (by the Church) would not take place until the fourth century, as I’m sure you well know.

    The main point here though, is that I don’t think there is really a disagreement between what Kathleen, GC, or myself wrote, and what you are pointing out about the early committing of Christian teaching to writing. Firstly, regardless of how early this took place, it is surely accepted by all here that the authentic teaching of Christ was handed down orally to His Apostles (as well as the authority to implement and interpret that teaching) who then transmitted it orally for at least some period of time prior to anyone writing it down. Secondly, whenever some of these teachings (and records of events) were committed to writing, that logical priority still remained, and the Mass, whilst being supplemented with readings from the Septuagint, and then later on readings from the apostolic writings, is indeed what the earliest Christians would have thought of had someone said the words (in Greek, Aramaic or whatever) signifying the ‘new testament’, instead of a collection of books yet to be drawn together, and still yet to be definitively stated as a canon.

    Basically, seeing as I don’t think anyone here has explicitly suggested a support of the Q theory, or of a sharp dichotomy between oral and written teaching, I think that perhaps there is no real grounds for disagreement? Whether one sees the first gospel being written ten or twenty years after the event, I’m sure we can all agree on their very early dating, the trustworthiness of the prior Tradition that they came out of, and the fact (which was the main point of Kathleen’s post) that the New Testament (as we know it) did not exist for the earliest Christians, and that they did not suffer any lack because of this.

    Like

  12. mkenny114 says:

    P.S. Thank you Kathleen! I hope you enjoy the links 🙂

    Like

  13. Tom Fisher says:

    First, the more recent research is increasingly suggesting that (with possible exceptions for 1 or 2 of the Epistles) all of the separate texts comprising the New Testament were written between about 35 AD and about 69 AD — which is entirely incompatible with the old 19th century theory that “the scriptures are part of “Tradition”. They are bits of (oral?)Tradition that have been cleverly writtied* down” — the Gospel of Mark can very plausibly be dated to 35-40 AD.

    Jabba, for the benefit of those of us who have spent some time on the question of how and when the gospels were composed, can you please give some sources for your rather incredible dates. I am rather worried that you have been reading Redating the New Testament by John Robinson.

    Like

  14. kathleen says:

    “They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity..” (Acts 2:46)
    “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor. 10:16)

    Dear Jabba, thank you for your scholarly offerings… but with no desire to offend you, I do think you are missing the main point made in the article here, also by Scott Hahn (in the description of his book), and all the other commenters, especially Michael… (all bar Toad of course).
    Whereas I am in no position to argue with you about the history for when (and how) the New Testament books, later gathered into one, were written, it is quite clear that the first Christians did not hold full written copies of such. The joy of the Resurrection of the Son of God Who had visited His people was still being preached by the Apostles in the first century. Their transformed lives after being witnesses to this sublime and miraculous event, including the Apostles’ travels, sermons, sufferings, etc. was still ongoing!! Revelation only concluded with the death of the Last Apostle at the end of the first century (as I know you know.)
    However, the Good News AND the memorial of Man’s redemption in the Holy Eucharist were already being celebrated. Holy Mother Church had started on her mission!

    So the emphasis here is how the Holy Eucharist (that many, me included, prefer to call “The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass“) and the earliest proclamation of the Good News were intricately united at this time.

    Like

  15. JabbaPapa says:

    I think you are looking for disagreement where there is none

    Oh, certainly not with you …

    Like

  16. JabbaPapa says:

    can you please give some sources for your rather incredible dates

    The TOTAL DESTRUCTION of Jerusalem by the Roman Army in AD 70 is not mentioned at all in Scripture — the only reasonable explanation for this fact is that it hadn’t happened yet during the composition of these texts.

    Like

  17. JabbaPapa says:

    it is quite clear that the first Christians did not hold full written copies of such

    If that’s your objection, Kathleen, then you’ve missed my own points … ;o)

    Like

  18. JabbaPapa says:

    I mean — could any description of the political & religious environment in New York not mentioning 9/11 possibly be conceivable post-destruction of the WTC ???

    Like

  19. Tom Fisher says:

    With respect to, say, the Pauline epistles, the issue you raise has some validity.

    With respect to the contents of the gospel narratives; the destruction of the Temple is heavily foreshadowed and frequently alluded to in all four gospels.

    More importantly, if I pick up a memoir of life in Berlin in the 1930s that does not mention the Berlin wall, I do not then infer that the memoir had to have been written before 1961.

    Like

  20. kathleen says:

    No Jabba, that’s not my “objection” – you are quoting me out of context 😉 – but BECAUSE of this (something I think we all agree on) the Bible, which the majority of Protestants claim is the sole source of Christian belief (see opening sentence), cannot stand up!

    Besides, I am not arguing with anything you have related about the first New Testament writings (I have already admitted that I would be unable to do that), but only why you appear to object to what others have said. Or were you aiming your disagreement solely on Scott Hahn’s research? You were not that clear.

    Like

  21. toadspittle says:

    While you are all enjoying arguing all this arcane and irrelevant historiography, the Moors are cheerfully massacring, and the ship is on fire.

    Like

  22. Tom Fisher says:

    @ Kathleen. Setting aside all arguments about exactly when in the first century the books of the New Testament were written:
    Thank you for this post. We need to keep emphasising the Catholic view of scripture. Especially since a simplistic version of the protestant view has been so dominant in the popular mind

    Like

  23. JabbaPapa says:

    the destruction of the Temple is heavily foreshadowed and frequently alluded to in

    … multiple locations in the Old Testament

    And ?

    There is a MASSIVE qualitative as well as plain old literary difference between prophetic texts and history.

    Quite apart from the fact that whatever objections you may have are extremely unclear from your writing – whereas I believe I’ve been rather clear ?

    BTW nice try attempting to throw one minor point of my own argument back at me, except next time do try and include some original content ? … and sorry to be rude, but using speculation to attempt to counter my fact-based and text-based and History-based points against the 19th century revisionist speculation is not very impressive.

    Like

  24. Tom Fisher says:

    Jabba,

    I asked you for some sources for your rather incredible view that all the New Testament texts were written between 35 and 69 A.D

    You provided none.

    Now you’re inexplicably talking about “19th Century revisionism”.

    You’re wasting my time.

    Over and out.

    Like

  25. JabbaPapa says:

    No Jabba, that’s not my “objection” – you are quoting me out of context

    No, dearest Kathleen,Michael has it right — no opposition between the Revelation, the Scripture, and the Tradition exists — but your word “early” is relative in nature.

    Collections of Biblical texts extremely similar to what we think of as the NT were most likely in circulation in the 1st Century

    It is therefore NOT “clear” in the slightest that the early Christians were a bunch of illiterates gathering every Sunday for some sort of ego-hugging anachronistic me generation love-fest of anything goes let’s-make-up-what-Jesus-said-as-we-go-along jamboree of let’s-ignore-Scripture

    Like

  26. JabbaPapa says:

    incredible

    Why should one waste one’s time trying to convince anyone who has so evidently already decided that one is wrong ?

    I remember with fondness one particular biologist’s claim to me not so many years ago that there was 0% Neanderthal DNA in Homo Sapiens Sapiens

    Please either explain the complete non-mention of the destruction of Jerusalem in Scripture, or otherwise please admit that your “incredible” claim is based on a priori prejudice.

    Like

  27. JabbaPapa says:

    if I pick up a memoir of life in Berlin in the 1930s that does not mention the Berlin wall, I do not then infer that the memoir had to have been written before 1961

    Can you please demonstrate that the Gospels deliberately seek to omit mentioning the destruction of Jerusalem in their descriptions of conditions in that city ?

    Like

  28. JabbaPapa says:

    And BTW quite frankly YES — I would certainly expect any serious contemporary historical author other than a novelist describing Berlin to make specific statements concerning the Berlin Wall.

    Like

  29. kathleen says:

    Jabba, I feel you’re tying me up in knots about all this! :/

    OK, let’s see. You say:
    “No, dearest Kathleen,Michael has it right — no opposition between the Revelation, the Scripture, and the Tradition exists”
    I’m 100% in agreement with that… It’s what I thought I had been saying all along.
    “but your word “early” is relative in nature.”
    OK, perhaps it is; I take back the word “early” (though not sure what you mean really.)

    Then you say:
    “Collections of Biblical texts extremely similar to what we think of as the NT were most likely in circulation in the 1st Century”
    Yes, a few of these texts could have been I suppose. But a lot of what we think of as the NT was still ongoing during the 1st century! Depending on which years we are referring to, some of the ‘acts’ had still not taken place, and some of St. Paul’s Epistles, and the letters of St. John, had still not been written. That the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ was well known among the first disciples and converts to Christianity I don’t doubt for a second (due to the impassioned preaching of the first witnesses, the Apostles), nor that the Memorial of His Holy Sacrifice on Calvary was celebrated among them from the very start of their mission after Pentecost, but whether many would have held copies of “Biblical [NT] texts” does seem to be questionable, IMHO.

    But when you say:
    “It is therefore NOT “clear” in the slightest that the early Christians were a bunch of illiterates gathering every Sunday for some sort of ego-hugging anachronistic me generation love-fest of anything goes let’s-make-up-what-Jesus-said-as-we-go-along jamboree of let’s-ignore-Scripture”,
    I am really hurt! What on Earth made you say this?
    After many years of discussing Catholic topics on the internet with you (sometimes also battling together against ‘trolls’ and heretics) how can you think I would EVER have such an idea of the early Christians?? I am a firm believer in Tradition and Catholic orthodoxy, so you well know how I would shun any such horrible wishy-washy rubbishy ideas about them. These were men of fire and zeal, filled with the Holy Spirit, who would suffer any torture or martyrdom (as indeed they did) to preserve the authentic Truth they had been bestowed with, and to pass it on to all future generations.
    There is absolutely NOTHING in the article (or among anyone’s comments for that matter) to suggest any such thing as this either – quite the opposite in fact.

    And Jabba: why are you flying off the handle with Tom? He only asked you a straightforward question or two.

    Like

  30. toadspittle says:

    “Collections of Biblical texts extremely similar to what we think of as the NT were most likely in circulation in the 1st Century”

    Toad does not a have a dog in this particular fight – but that sentence surely must be a finalist in the Weasely Word contest?
    Or – if not that – something extremely similar, most likely?
    (I shall live to regret this kindly intervention, no doubt.)

    Like

  31. JabbaPapa says:

    Kathleen, I’m sorry if you thought that the “ego-hugging anachronistic me generation love-fest of anything goes let’s-make-up-what-Jesus-said-as-we-go-along jamboree of let’s-ignore-Scripture” comment might have aimed at you personally — no, it wasn’t.

    It’s aimed at the revisionism that I’m denouncing.

    Like

  32. Brother Burrito says:

    Without poor communication and misunderstanding, there would be no history (books). 😉

    Like

  33. Tom Fisher says:

    ego-hugging anachronistic me generation love-fest of anything goes let’s-make-up-what-Jesus-said-as-we-go-along jamboree of let’s-ignore-Scripture

    So Jabba was denouncing a view of the early Christians that was a.) not put forward in the original post, and b.), not put forward by anyone who commented on the original post.

    It’s generally a good idea to argue with people based on what they actually say, rather than based on views you ascribe to them.

    Jabba’s attacks on “19th century revisionism” are about as constructive as swinging a spade in a dark basement at a black cat that isn’t there.

    There can be a sensible (and interesting) debate about the composition of the New Testament, but that must await another thread, as it would be off-topic from the post, and I’m too fed up with Jabba to bother engaging.

    Like

  34. kathleen says:

    @ Jabba

    Owing to the way you were using separate comments for each person you were addressing, it looked as though you were saying it to me. I’m sorry if I got the wrong end of the stick.

    And without repeating the whole sentence attributed to “19th century revisionism” once again, I would say it is an abhorrent idea of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour’s first followers that is alive and kicking today (having been especially revived in the last 45-50 years) that we should most certainly do our utmost to denounce and to rectify.

    Like

  35. JabbaPapa says:

    I look forward to Tom’s future efforts to address substance rather than style.

    Like

  36. Tom Fisher says:

    I look forward to Tom’s future efforts to address substance rather than style.

    Jabba, you were asked a simple question that you never addressed. (Instead you went off on your strange tangent which has been quoted sufficiently).
    Given that there is a broad consensus within the (21st Century!) scholarly community that the most likely window for the final redaction of the N.T. texts was between about 50 – 90 A.D. it was perfectly reasonable to ask for some citations for your 35 -69 dating.

    The earlier dating may well be correct, you may well have references to relevant recent research. You were simply asked for some sources. Your (non) response to this request is what frustrated me.

    And whenever the N.T was redacted, I, like you, have no doubt that it accurately records the life, death, and resurrection of our Saviour. So no nonsense about atheist revisionism etc. please.

    Like

  37. toadspittle says:

    “Why should one waste one’s time trying to convince anyone who has so evidently already decided that one is wrong?”

    Cuts both ways, of course.

    Like

  38. Roger says:

    The written text? Well lets start with Moses (educated Egyptian) and the Torah which was written down. As for this subtle argument over tradition and oral! Rejected entirely and refuted. Place myths and lengends outside of the Bible amongst pagans. The Bible was always a written text. The copying of the Torah used textsums to ensure that copies were correct!
    As for the Gospels? Well written very very early. The Dead Sea Scrolls included a scrap of St Matthew (i believe). The point is the Septuiguant took the texts out of the control of the temple into the Greek gentile world and made possible the church of the Gentiles.
    I refute entirely the passed by oral Tradition!! with respect to the Bible. Any Catholic and Christian can never go down this road of an oral Bible because this denies the revelation of Truth. St Augustine dealt with this is City Of God.
    Dammed be those who would call the Bible Oral because it makes the Bible little more than a version of Homer.
    Sacred Tradition covers all that was not set down but passed on and taught this includes sacraments and rituals.
    God writes on a seers Soul and the Soul never forgets. Seers have been tested by asking to rewrite messages for instance and the words come out as imprinted on their souls.
    As for a distinction between Jews and Christians? Rejected entirely. The Jews were never a single belief system. On the contrary we find various groupings and sects within what was called Jews. Essenes for instance. The rebellious province called down the wrath off Rome and the result fulfilled Our Lords Prophecy over Jerusalem.
    The Gospels were CLEARLY written under Our Lady’s influence how else would private revelations and discourse have been recorded? Therefor they were written before the Apostles became active and dispursed over the Roman Empire.

    Like

  39. toadspittle says:

    Well, that’s sorted that, then.
    Thanks, Roger.
    Now we can all get some sleep.

    Like

  40. Roger says:

    The two pillars? Bible and Sacred Tradition.
    Its pretty obvious that in the General Apostacy (which we are living through) that these two pillars will be attacked to brought into disrepute. Suffice to say the Apostles AND OUR LORD preached the Bible (Old Testament and especially the Torah) and celebrated the traditional feasts sic Passover (Moses) .
    Then the New Testament and especially the Gospels how would the visitation have been known? What about the Presentation? What about the Nativity and the Shepherds? Consider also the Magi and the implications of their story.
    Toad we have to keep Our Lamps alight. The Garden Of Gethsemane and sleeping when we need to be awake and praying.

    Like

  41. kathleen says:

    Well Roger (big sigh), I hope you are not damning us all to Hell (re your comment at 11:30) for no one has said the Bible is “Oral”. However, as many of the first Witnesses could not read and write, at the very beginning much of it must have been transmitted orally for others to then put into writing.
    Did Our Lady know how to read and write? We don’t know for certain, but many believe she did not. However St. Luke and St. Matthew surely did, and Mary would have told St. Luke about the wondrous and miraculous events of her and Jesus’ early life, who then put her exact words into writing. Many of the Apostles were not literate – a very common thing in those days. (Illiteracy was not the offensive and negative-sounding word it is nowadays.)

    Immediately after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the first Apostles began to preach the Good News ORALLY from having been witnesses of the events, or IOW, before it was put into writing.
    Jabba affirms that, “the more recent research is increasingly suggesting that (with possible exceptions for 1 or 2 of the Epistles) all of the separate texts comprising the New Testament were written between about 35 AD and about 69 AD”.

    Much of the above discussion has been about when and how many of the Christians in the 1st century A.D. would have held copies of these written texts of the New Testament. Without going over the whole thing again, and indeed there does seem to be a certain amount of uncertainty and disagreement on this, no one is denying that the written Bible soon became the written “Word of God”.

    “Sacred Tradition covers all that was not set down but passed on and taught this includes sacraments and rituals.”
    “The two pillars? Bible and Sacred Tradition.”

    Exactly! This is precisely what has been repeated many times (^) above, both in the article and by various commenters.

    Like

  42. Roger says:

    Here is the problem. The Trinity appeared to Noe, Abraham, Isiais. The ten commandments in tablets of stone. In other words the misconception over the written word, which itself is a product of the Fall of man. Now Our Lady well the Fathers of the Church believed in the pre-existent Christ and THE WOMAN (this woman was known to Adam and Eve).
    La Salette has this woman talking in patois. Our Lady? tradition has her in the Temple at the Age of Three.
    Can you not see that Oral and Fallen Man leads to myth and fabrication? Said one thing recorded something else. Meaning lost in translation etc.. The material available to St Jerome nolonger exists. St Augustine records issues between his translations and for instance the septuiguint.
    You know of the persecution of the Apostles in Jerusalem sic St Stephen and St James. You also know of the dispersal of the disciples and Apostles. The great jewel of the Apostolic Church was OUR LADY and the presumption that she was illiterate or of limited education is a contradiction of the spouse of the Holy Ghost.
    That she was instrumental in the Gospels is obvious and that not being subject to Original Sin places her outside of the norms of Fallen Men.
    The Bible was entrusted in written form to the Mosaic Church and the same holds for the Gospels. Written just after the Passion. The oral argument reeks off the opinion of Fallen Man blinded worldly opinions. The Blind leading the Blind. It leads to myths and legends off course the road to paganism.
    The great Doctors of the Church and the Fathers were well aware of these arguments.

    Like

  43. toadspittle says:

    “…the presumption that she (The Virgin Mary) was illiterate or of limited education is a contradiction of the spouse of the Holy Ghost.”

    How educated was she then, Roger? How much did she know?

    Like

  44. Roger says:

    Well what do you mean by educated?
    She said my soul doth magnify the Lord. Obviously the WOMAN was known by Adam and Eve and Our Lady wasn’t subject to Original Sin which placed Man in the Fallen State. Language itself and Man’s impediment due to His Fallen State is deficient as is Man’s Science. Our Lord pointed this out with respect to Heaven “eye hath not seen etc..”
    The answer to your question is her knowledge wasn’t subject to the limitations of exiled Man.
    Who then couild educate the Virgin. Her teachers (like those Our Lord taught at the age of 12) would be astounded at her Wisdom.

    Like

  45. GC says:

    Kathleen, (sigh, indeed), oral testimony is on the whole valid. A justice system, for instance, is inconceivable without it. That is not to say that every piece of oral evidence is completely accurate, but that each piece can be weighed and the whole lot sifted to produce an accurate account of misdeeds or anything at all, for that matter. Happens all the time..

    The prologue of St Luke’s Gospel tells it: a progression from the oral to the written. And that presumably is “Gospel truth”:

    Many have undertaken to draw up an account (written) of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word (oral tradition). With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, (written) most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

    Meanwhile, according to Roger, every murderer or any other sort of ne’er-do-well and miscreant is being restored to the company of his friends and his relations (Gilbert & Sullivan), on the ground that the evidence against him/her at the Old Bailey was only “oral” and thus myth or legend.

    Like

  46. toadspittle says:

    “Well what do you mean by educated?”
    Since it was you, Roger, who brought up the question of how many “A” levels Christ’s Mother had in the first place – I should be asking you that.
    Which is exactly what – if you re-read it carefully – I did.

    I have to say I’m amused and amazed by the utter certainty displayed here by several people – about things which can only be deduced, or speculated about – in the very vaguest terms, and are subject (as we see here) to an almost infinite spectrum of interpretations.
    Which doesn’t mean they are not true, necessarily.
    But…

    Like

  47. toadspittle says:

    “That is not to say that every piece of oral evidence is completely accurate..”
    True enough, GC, because people habitually tell lies – if it suits them to do so. Which is generally.
    Even in court. Especially in court, in fact. We all know that.

    “..so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

    Er, well – if you say so.

    Like

  48. Roger says:

    The author of the Bible is God. Before jumping on the Oral bandwangon consider the numerous, various and manifest seers and visionaries many elevated to the altars. Perhaps Emmerich’s works are Oral? Perhaps Catherine of Siena? St Don Boscos Dreams? St Malachy’s names?
    Before jumping to Oral how about looking at the Church and its manifest visionaries, seers and prophets! There witnessed visions of the Passion. The Holy House and indeed Walsingham.
    Our Lords example to the Proud educated Sanhedrin was the elevation of Fishermen! That is exactly the same answer of Fatima to the intellectual giants of today.
    There is NO evidence of Oral on the contrary manifest evidence of revelation, visions and seers.
    Consider what Apostacy and modernism means.
    As for the court? Well mercantile and codified Law runs the planet rather than the Equity of Conscience. Man made Laws most in flagarant opposition to Gods Laws.

    Like

  49. Roger says:

    Consider the Apostles and the Holy Of Holies. Their Masses directed to God rather than education and exhibition. Souls were not permitted to the Holy Sacrifice without long preparation.

    Like

  50. toadspittle says:

    “The author of the Bible is God. “
    …Using a pseudonym.
    Like Charles Lutwidge Dodgson.

    “Man made Laws most in flagrant opposition to God’s Laws.”
    I doubt if that’s what law-making man had in mind. But I don’t know. But I doubt if it’s true that man did that, anyway.
    Judeo-Christian laws echo the Commandments, more or less.

    Like

  51. Roger says:

    No the Natural Law concurs with the Commanments. However Equity the Law of Conscience came from the Church against the strictures of the Common Law.
    But mercantile Law and Codified Law come from Free Thinking. GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF THE BIBLE understand that the vessel used was poor souls BUT these were the instruments not the Author, To understand this simply look at the Church. Moses wrote the Torah including Genesis? so did he write from Oral tradition? or Visions? St John Apoc has visions and messages are these Oral?
    Understand that the Bibles Author is GOD.

    Like

  52. kathleen says:

    Roger; who is denying that the Bible is made up of various WRITTEN books? I really don`t know what you are trying to prove here. Yes, the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that was personally written down by the very same protagonists,e.g; Matthew, John, Paul, etc., and partly relayed to others who wrote the events down. That we can be assured of their truth and accuracy is by the amazing testimonies of the Apostles and the first Christians (plus numerous miracles witnessed by thousands), who nearly all ended up martyrs. No “myth” could have withstood such a savage and ongoing persecution of all those witnesses.
    Your denial appears to be that NOTHING was transmitted orally, but that is – forgive me for saying so – a silly argument. Just think about it for a moment: how many things we know or learn about because we have heard about them rather than reading about them – having never actually seen the either evidence with our own eyes! See again what GC has pointed out to you at 17:21 yesterday in the prologue of St. Luke`s Gospel.

    The discussion prior to your intervention was not whether the Bible was SOLELY ORAL in the first century – we all know it was not – but simply to try to establish how long it took for the written texts of the various authors to be gathered together into what we call the New Testament.

    Like

  53. toadspittle says:

    We should all be reading between the lines here, anyway.
    …Much more pleasant than reading the lines themselves.

    “Just think about it for a moment: how many things we know or learn about because we have heard about them rather than reading about them – having never actually seen the either evidence with our own eyes!”
    And, sadly, even if we do see it with our own eyes, we can still be mistaken:

    “He thought he saw an Argument
    That proved he was the Pope:
    He looked again, and found it was
    A Bar of Mottled Soap.
    ‘A fact so dread,’ he faintly said,
    ‘Extinguishes all hope!'”

    (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. …Could he possibly have had Roger in mind? No! Of course not! Foolish Toad!)

    Like

  54. johnhenrycn says:

    “Your denial appears to be that NOTHING was transmitted orally, but that is – forgive me for saying so – a silly argument.”

    Quite, Kathleen. I respectfully apologise to Roger for not reading his comments in detail (they make my head ache), and people more versed in the classical world than I am are welcome to correct me; but my understanding is that the primary way great ideas and stories were communicated during the Bronze and Iron Ages was not by written manuscripts, but orally by teachers whose words were memorized – very quickly and word for word – by their disciples. With the advent of manuscripts and (more harmfully) the invention of the printing press, most people’s mental capacity to memorize huge amounts of material has been lost. The Iliad and the Odyssey, for example, were (according to the best modern scholarship) passed down for generations via oral tradition and memorization. Homer was a storyteller, not a writer.

    Like

  55. JabbaPapa says:

    jh, some literary traditions were oral whereas others were written — but, case in point, the Biblical Tradition is based on the written Decalogue provided by God

    Just because some few oral traditions have existed does not magically transform all Tradition into a Chinese whispers game …

    Like

  56. johnhenrycn says:

    But our funnymentalist contributor may prove to be right, when the definitive text on the provenance of the New Testament is finally published. As Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first woman Governor of Texas, is reputed to have said: “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it ought to be good enough for the children of Texas.”

    Like

  57. johnhenrycn says:

    JP: The mythic Stone Tablets are the true words of God, but they are myth.

    Like

  58. johnhenrycn says:

    Christ’s death on the cross: did that really happen – historically as well as mythically? I believe Christians must avow His death for our sins; but to say His death happened when nailed to a cross is no more (or less) biblically accurate than to say he was hanged from a tree. SS Peter and Paul say a tree. SS Matthew, Mark, Luke and John say he was nailed to a cross. If the Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God, then we must accept that myth can be inspired by God and can be as true as so-called history.

    Like

  59. johnhenrycn says:

    I said: “The mythic Stone Tablets are the true words of God, but they are myth.”

    Now, that’s not to say Moses didn’t carve words on a soft stone with a harder stone. If that’s what happened on Mount Sinai, does that make what happened there less worthy of belief?

    Like

  60. johnhenrycn says:

    I’d say many things described in the Bible are ineffable, which is to say many things recounted there cannot be explained except as myths. Why do the Jews call God YHWH? Because we cannot describe God any clearer than that.

    Like

  61. toadspittle says:

    “I believe Christians must avow His death for our sins; but to say His death happened when nailed to a cross is no more (or less) biblically accurate than to say he was hanged from a tree.”

    We live and learn, don’t we? Never before – in all my longish life have I ever heard it suggested before that Christ was hanged.
    But then, I’m spectacularly ignorant. I thought that was Judas.

    “I’d say many things described in the Bible are ineffable, which is to say many things recounted there cannot be explained except as myths.”
    So would I – and it would be handy to be able to be confident where myth stops and reality begins. But it’s a lot to ask, I know.

    Like

  62. johnhenrycn says:

    “Never before – in all my longish life have I ever heard it suggested before that Christ was hanged.”

    Before your longish life closes, read Acts 5:30 and Acts 10:39, and then get back to me.

    “But then, I’m spectacularly ignorant. I thought that was Judas.”

    Quite. Matt. 27:5. But isn’t the symbolism of both our Lord and Judas both dying by hanging pregnant with symbolic meaning and (perhaps) truth?

    Like

  63. johnhenrycn says:

    “…it would be handy to be able to be confident where myth stops and reality begins.”

    Why is it that you think myth and reality are antithetical? Remind me when the ruins of Troy were first discovered and whether Troy was a mere myth before then.

    Like

  64. johnhenrycn says:

    “Never before – in all my longish life…” [et sequitur]
    Read also Acts 13:29 and 1 Peter 2:24.

    Like

  65. toadspittle says:

    “Remind me when the ruins of Troy were first discovered and whether Troy was a mere myth before then.
    Exactly, JH. And if Schliemann hadn’t found it – it would still remain a mere myth to many.
    Even though those many would be wrong, and never know it.
    Hard evidence is a help.
    But how many of us would base our entire moral code on the purported existence of Troy?

    “Why is it that you think myth and reality are antithetical?”
    I think no such thing. Just like a bit of clarity in deciding which is which. But I suppose you’d say it doesn’t really matter in the end. And maybe it doesn’t.

    Like

  66. mkenny114 says:

    John Henry,

    I must confess to being a little confused by the following statement:

    ‘Christ’s death on the cross: did that really happen – historically as well as mythically? I believe Christians must avow His death for our sins; but to say His death happened when nailed to a cross is no more (or less) biblically accurate than to say he was hanged from a tree.’

    Are you actually suggesting that when Saint Peter and Paul say that Christ was killed by his hanging on a tree that they are referring to something other than the crucifixion? Given that both of them (in Acts as well as their epistles) refer explicitly to His crucifixion many times, I find it very difficult to see their stating that there were two different methods of execution employed. I had always thought that when the hanging from the tree was referred to, it was as a fulfilment of Deuteronomy 21:23 (this is certainly how Saint Paul sees it in Galatians 3:13), not an allusion to a separate form of execution. Christ’s hanging on the Cross (which is made from wood, which comes from trees, and is arranged in a tree-like stance) was seen as a fulfilment of this, in relation to His taking the weight of our sin upon Him. I don’t think there is any suggestion here at all of two means by which He was killed.

    Also, are you actually, on this basis, suggesting that the reports of Christ’s death by crucifixion in the gospels is not a historical fact? Perhaps I use the word ‘mythic’ in a different way to you, but to consider this as having not actually happened in history seems to cut the ground out from underneath the central saving events in Christianity. I apologise if this is just a misunderstanding regarding the terms employed, but otherwise what you have written seems to be very troubling indeed. For now though, I remain open to clarification, and so confused instead of troubled 🙂

    Like

  67. toadspittle says:

    That’s reassuring news indeed, Michael.
    I thought I was the only one off my rocker for a second there.

    “Perhaps I use the word ‘mythic’ in a different way to you,”

    Relativism! …Or perhaps the word ‘mythic’ means exactly whatever each of us wants it to mean – no more, no less*?

    (*Hat tip to H.Dumpty.)

    Like

  68. mkenny114 says:

    Relativism? I certainly hope not! 🙂

    As far as I am concerned, the word ‘mythic’ has only one meaning, which is something that, whilst preserving a truth or truths that can only be best conveyed in narrative form, does not actually have any historical foundation – something that, whilst edifying, did not actually happen.

    I am open to the fact that qualifications could be made to this definition, and so others may have a different interpretation of the word’s meaning based on such qualifications, but if the core meaning (i.e.; that the thing in question didn’t really happen) is obscured, then I would have to disagree I’m afraid. I am however, perfectly open to correction on this point.

    Like

  69. johnhenrycn says:

    Michael: Your comment at 10:58 puts the case for Christ’s death by crucifixion nailed to a cross very well, and I accept it as historically true. How could Simon of Cyrene have carried the cross if it was really a tree? My example (cross v. tree) of mythic truth was not a good one, when I consider your reply, but the primary meaning of myth – at least in the way I intended to use it – is a traditional story, especially one concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon, and typically involving supernatural beings or events, in which fiction is interwoven with fact. Did God create the world? Yes. Did God create the world in six days?? I submit that mythic truth (and parable) is a legitimate way of interpreting and understanding many of the stories handed down in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament, as for example the great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns told of in Revelation.
    ___
    I’ve broken my temporary vow of silence again, but you deserved the courtesy of a reply.

    Like

  70. mkenny114 says:

    John Henry, thanks for your reply (especially as it involves another break in your vow of silence!)

    That is fair enough, and I’m glad to hear that you do see the crucifixion as a historical event 🙂 As for the way in which you were using the word myth, I would broadly go along with that actually, but just wouldn’t limit it to those criteria. What I mean is that whilst I would still say the primary meaning of the word is a truth-conveying narrative not describing something that actually happened, it is definitely the case that such stories often either have a distant historical root, or are in some way designed to make sense out of a people’s experiences and self-understanding in response to those experiences. But with respect to something that claims to have occurred in reality, and is described in terms that make it plain it is to be understood as such, then we haven’t the luxury of interpreting it as myth at all.

    I suppose you could maybe say that truths we discover about ourselves can be described in mythic terms, and that yes this is definitely a legitimate way of understanding some passages in the Bible, as long as we make the distinction between myth per se and mythical or poetic (which latter term I prefer personally) re-tellings of truths related to historical fact – things that can be described poetically, but definitely refer back to a real historical occurrence.

    I would class the account of the red dragon in Revelation as allegory though, as opposed to myth.

    Like

  71. toadspittle says:

    “Did God create the world? Yes. Did God create the world in six days?? “

    Well, we must suppose it all depends on what we mean by “create,” and also what we mean by “days,” I suppose. Though, ultimately, it all depends on what we mean by “God,” doesn’t it?

    Like

  72. mkenny114 says:

    Toad,

    What is it exactly that you mean by questioning the meanings of what we mean by different things?

    As I’m sure you’re well aware of the history of the Church’s interpretation of the first few chapters of Genesis, the widespread use of different genres of writing both inside and outside the Church, and the core definition of the word ‘God’ shared by cultures throughout the ages, I hope that at the root of your questioning is something that goes beyond these issues – issues that have been, as I am confident you know, already well investigated elsewhere.

    Like

  73. toadspittle says:

    “What is it exactly that you mean by questioning the meanings of what we mean by different things?”
    Maybe it means much the same as you mean, when you ask JH what he “means,” by “Mythic,” Michael?
    So, I’m unable to be “exact” about it, naturally – that is the whole point.

    My “point,” – if you can call anything so flimsy worth considering – is that we are all – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Atheists, Mormons, Satanists… and God knows what all else – floundering around in a morass of ignorance, and – all, apparently, utterly unable to admit it – all desperate for a certainty that none of us will never know is really certain or not… (Although, who knows?)

    This all interests me deeply. Not sure why.
    Something to do with my upbringing, it seems to seem – when utter certainty about Catholicism, including Limbo, Jews all going to Hell, God walking on water, transubstantiation, what a very nice man Franco was, etc., was stuffed unceremoniously down my neck. …and I had no recourse except to vomit it all up, or choke.

    Although, as Wittgenstein famously said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my world,” So maybe Humpty wasn’t so Dumbty, after all.
    …But I don’t know. None of us do, do we?
    Religion is clearly the most important, and interesting, thing in the world. (Ask ISIS.)
    So, we’d better just roll up our sleeves and get on with it.

    …Regardless of whether it’s true, or not.

    Like

  74. mkenny114 says:

    Toad,

    When I asked John Henry to clarify what he meant by the word ‘mythic’, it was to understand a possible cause of a difference in opinion, in the full knowledge that words, whilst having clear and essential meanings, often mean slightly different things in different contexts, and when employed to make different points it is a good thing to be clear about how each person is using it.

    This is not the same thing as the idea that words can mean whatever we want them to at all – if this were true, we wouldn’t even be able to begin to communicate. Case in point is the word ‘God’, which despite your opinion to the contrary, has a clear and definite meaning. That different religions have different understandings of some aspects of God’s nature is not the same thing as having such wildly different ideas about the word that we are ‘floundering a round in a morass of ignorance’.

    I had thought that perhaps you had some sort of serious point to make here, but instead you’ve produced the same claims as before that we can’t possibly understand anything or know anything about the true nature of reality with any degree of assurance, as well as reducing all religious thought and behaviour to the level of ISIS.

    If all this is a reaction to a particularly strict or repressive form of Catholicism experienced during your upbringing them I’m sorry about that, but to be honest I think you need to see past that and stop letting it shape your view of the world, which comes across as, quite frankly, a little blinkered sometimes. Sorry if this response has come across as a bit ill-tempered, but I really had expected something a bit more rational, and a bit more constructive. I’ll go and cool off with a hot drink (old habits die hard).

    Like

  75. toadspittle says:

    “If all this is a reaction to a particularly strict or repressive form of Catholicism experienced during your upbringing them I’m sorry about that, but to be honest I think you need to see past that and stop letting it shape your view of the world,”

    Bit late now, Michael – it already started doing that around 1952.
    We are all shaped by our upbringings, for better or worse.
    Except you, possibly, from your comment above. In which case, you are fortunate.
    ..Although, I doubt that my upbringing was all that “strict or repressive.” Violent and sadistic a bit, but that was the norm.
    And the big plus was that it taught me to regard all apparent “facts” with deep suspicion, until verified satisfactorily.
    Which helped in later life.
    “Case in point is the word ‘God’, which despite your opinion to the contrary, has a clear and definite meaning. “</I.
    …So we all agree what "God" means. I think not.

    Like

  76. toadspittle says:

    “…words, whilst having clear and essential meanings, often mean slightly different things in different contexts..”
    Why only “slightly”?
    Why not, in a great many cases, “utterly”?
    Like, for example, the word, “host,” which JH brought up?
    Do you think your idea of God is “clearly and definitely” the same as a member of Isis?
    I doubt it.
    And I’d also suggest a cold drink – with a good shot of gin in it – rather than a hot one.

    My view of life “blinkered”? Of course it is! Everybody’s is. Everybody’s thinking is prejudiced, trapped, and determined by their upbringings and circumstances.
    I could no more understand the mind-set of an Aztec in 1491, than you could.

    …Though, coming from a Catholic – as I suppose you are – that “blinkered” notion is a bit rich.

    Like

  77. mkenny114 says:

    Toad,

    Apologies again for my intemperate tone – I was a bit on edge yesterday, and probably shouldn’t have replied at all, but I did, so there we have it. Nevertheless, I still stand by what I wrote, which was, though exacerbated by my mood, prompted by a sense of deep frustration with what you had written. Let me explain.

    My point before was not that only your perspective has been shaped by your upbringing and circumstances (and that noone else’s, including my own, has been), but that you seem to be unable to look past yours, seeing all of Catholic teaching, and of religion in general, through that lens, and rendering yourself unable to hear any voices which might paint a different picture of things. I, and many others here, have taken the time to counter the points you bring up (which tend to be variations on an unchanging theme), sometimes explaining the position contrary to your own clearly and in detail, and yet you always seem to revert to a position of (ironically, given what you have to say about Catholicism) unquestioning skepticism, that either ignores or willfully misrepresents what has been said to you.

    Whether your upbringing was strict, repressive, sadistic, whatever, that is not the point – the point is that this is one person’s experience, and despite the fact that yes, our early experiences shape our perspectives in part, most of us learn how to broaden those perspectives and include other people’s experiences of similar things (we are not ‘trapped’ by our upbringings at all). Your comments seem to suggest that you are dead set on seeing Catholicism only in very narrow terms, based on your early experiences and excluding all others, and on projecting the position of skepticism which you say developed in response to these experiences (which, whilst not absolute, is certainly applied to an extent that is unjustified) to everything else. This is what I mean by blinkered – which, if you think is rich, so be it – that not only are you shaped by your experiences, as everyone is, but that you are almost subject to them, and incapable of seeing things in any other light (or just unwilling, I don’t know).

    Case in point here re your unwillingness to engage seriously with various issues (choosing instead the radical and unwarranted skepticism I mentioned earlier) is the question of what we mean by the word ‘God’. As I think I made clear in my previous comment, I did not mean that a Christian (for example) would have exactly the same concept of God as a member of ISIS (or any other Muslim for that matter). What I meant was that, regardless of the often subtle, but significant differences that exist between the various concepts of God, virtually all would agree that He is omnipotent, omniscient, infinite, completely transcendent, the source of the True and the Good, and has necessary existence. You say the word ‘God’ to anyone and that is pretty much what they think of, even if they don’t formally break it down into the separate descriptive terms I just listed. The differences, significant though they are, do not obscure this shared assumption of the core meaning. Again though, I think it is pretty clear that this is what I meant from before, and the fact that you took it otherwise is just another example of the willful contrariness and unwillingness to engage the plain sense of an alternative viewpoint that I have found so frustrating.

    If, for whatever reason, you wish to continue telling yourself that we all frequently mean wildly different things by what we say, that there is barely anything we can be sure of in this life (especially when it comes to religion of course), unless ‘verified satisfactorily’ (i.e.; to a standard of verification which, if applied to our most basic human experiences and intuitions, would render life completely nonsensical), and that all religion is inherently repressive, wrong-headed and destructive, then fine. However, after a period where I thought you were actually genuinely interested in arriving at the truth of things, I have finally realised that either you are not interested, or have some other reasons (God knows what) for not wanting such a thing as objective truth to exist at all, and have wedded yourself to the aforementioned tactic of radical skepticism to avoid the fact that it might. If this is the case (and of course, as you would say, I might be wrong), then there’s no point trying to convince you otherwise (and by this I do not mean convincing you of any particular conclusions, but only that these things can be discussed meaningfully at all) then I think the only sensible thing to do is for me to throw in the proverbial towel.

    Like

  78. toadspittle says:

    Odd, almost uncanny, you should close like that, Michael, because I’ve been starting to think I am getting nowhere on here myself, and should consider throwing in my own towel.
    I’ll think some more on it. (No apologies needed, of course. From you, that is.)
    …Though I urge you* to read “What I Believe,” by your illustrious namesake, as well as Unamuno.

    * And everyone.

    Like

  79. mkenny114 says:

    I will do in time Toad – I shall put it on my ‘to read’ list, along with Unamuno – though it may take me a while to get around to it. I’m roughly aware of what Anthony believes, but it would do to have a more thorough grounding in his reasons as to why, yes – it would certainly make things easier at family reunions at any rate 🙂

    Like

  80. johnhenrycn says:

    Who’s that Unamuna bloke? Sounds like a Islamic convict name. Anyway, Toad, either go for a one month walk with your dogs, or apply for a job with the CIA:

    “Detecting sarcasm and false positives is just one of 16 or 18 things we are looking at.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/06/03/the-secret-service-wants-software-that-detects-social-media-sarcasm-yeah-sure-it-will-work/

    Like

  81. johnhenrycn says:

    oops. The CIA tender for proposals closed on June 9th.

    Like

  82. johnhenrycn says:

    Okay, so I misspelt “Unamumo”. Sue me. His most popular aphorisms on the WWW are no match for Woody Allen, let alone Pascal.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s