Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Half a correspondence on Catholic Church and Bible

I was replying to an article on the site Risen Jesus, not at all sure if it was this one I just linked to* or another.

I seem to have in my initial response said sth about Catholic Tradition being why we know the authors (apart from genuine or forged claims by real author to be such and such a person, most authors are known in such a way as would make the category pseudepigrapha - wrong attribution - at least possible, except for the fact a tradition is there attributing the book to such and such an author**. So, I might have asked why he believed Catholic tradition about Gospel attributions, but not about ... "Catholicism" ... as in the parts of Catholicism rejected by Protestants.

Now, my original latter is so far still lost somewhere on their computers, and I therefore start with a belated reply and give mine to it. Labelling the reply II, in case the I should reemerge.

Nick Peters to me
07/01/16 à 21h20
Risen Jesus
Hi Hans. Thanks for writing. Please accept our apologies for the delay in our response. We just discovered a glitch in the contact area of our website which resulted in us not receiving about 500 messages. The issue has now been resolved and we are working diligently to respond to those messages that were not received. Mike's a busy guy, so he has me, his son-in-law and apologetics colleague Nick Peters to help him with these questions. I'd answer that we have textual evidence that is there independent of the Catholic Church. The transmission of the manuscripts is not dependent on the doctrines derived from those manuscripts or traditions. Hope this helps! Sorry about the delay! In Christ, Nick Peters

Me to Nick Peters
1/8/16 at 4:22 PM
re: Risen Jesus
I'd love to respond to this, but I cannot find my earlier message.

So, if you find it, please forward it again back to me. But to my new mail,, please, since this one will close.***

Meanwhile, here:

1) "I'd answer that we have textual evidence that is there independent of the Catholic Church."

As for OT, you have Jews who rejected Christ. But as for Gospels, you have precisely Catholic Church plus its clearly non-Protestant rivals about position of being THE apostolic Church.

There was a time before Chalcedonians split around 1053 into Catholic and Orthodox, but neither is Protestant, nor were their positions before that date so.

There was a time before Nestorians and Monophysites diverged from each other and from Chalcedonians, like before 451 and before 431. But Nestorians and Monophysites (or Armenians plus Copts, since there are two groups) also have clearly non-Protestant positions clearly reminding of Catholic ones, shared with Catholics and Orthodox, and so had the Christian people before that split.

You do NOT have a text tradition by the way of Donatists, Montanists, Novatians. These left too little records of their own, apart from Tertullian who was a Montanist.°

2) "The transmission of the manuscripts is not dependent on the doctrines derived from those manuscripts or traditions."

If we can presume God has given full preservation for the salvation relevant portions of the text, why should He not also have preserved His own CHurch in Her fulness in one of the five non-Protestant groups? These being, as said, Catholics, Orthodox, Cops and Armenians, Nestorians. And finding out which of them is the true Church is NOT like looking for a needle in a haystack, since there are only five of them.

Now, I do not think doctrines of the true Church, especially as proposed under penalty of excommunication for those not believing it (the doctrines that are dogmas), can be merely DERIVED from texts and traditions and not be included IN them.

Since the promise was, precisely, to preserve His Church, and to preserve Revelation as a whole ("my word"/"His word"), not to preserve a specific collection of texts.

Also, without a doctrinal community, where do you find a decision even on what texts BELONG TO the Word of God?°°

No, the transmission of manuscripts can very well go on humanly speaking as usual without all conclusions draw from them remaining the same. But the transmission of manuscripts of the Gospel can also not, independently of the Church, establish they are history rather than fiction. We know this from the community that received them, precisely as we know from the community that received Lord of the Rings, in the reverse case, that it is fiction and not history.

Anyway, whether you bother to reply to this, or not, please do send my original message to other adress, and thank you for sending me this reply!

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Holy Martyrs Lucian (priest) and
Maximian and Julian of Beauvais


* Risen Jesus : Review of Bart Ehrman’s book “Forged: Writing in the Name of God”…

** The tradition I have heard about the name "J. R. R. Tolkien" on covers of Lord of the Rings is that he wrote it. And that the claim of his having translated it from a very ancient Adunaic book (a claim stated in the book) is a literary joke. Precisely as Umberto Eco joked about having found a manuscript by Adso of Melk containing a story in which a Brother Jorge obsessed with apocalypse etc. commits murders of any readers of a certain manuscript, simply by poisoning the pages, because he found the treatise by Aristotle on Comedy a poisonous reading. This story is of course from a very XXth C. view on what fanaticism entails, and among other things it is there to claim Catholicism in Middle Ages was very like Stalinism in this respect. We have no such story from the known manuscripts of the Middle Ages. The Name of the Rose is a novel, not a reedition of an autobiographical manuscript. This I believe on the tradition I have from when the books were published. I was sixteen for the latter book, not yet born for the former (actually my mother was eighteen when it was completed in 1955 : the chronological distance is like the distance between us), but for either of them, I believe tradition about who wrote and what kind of book it was meant to be taken for.

*** This is a notification to readers wishing to correspond to me, that this has already happened. Will change on "if you wish to correspond with me" page too.

° And even he doesn't give you complete Bibles, just confirmation by way of heresy early separated from Catholic Church that even before that separation Catholic Church accepted such and such a book. Which Tertullian quoted. °° Tertullian's doctrinal unity is no longer extant and isn't helpful for all that many books even for his quotes.

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