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« Fr. Robert Barron on anti-Catholicism | Main | We Are the Risk of God: Reflections On the Limits of Divine Mercy »

Friday, February 25, 2011

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Deacon Bryan

So. Freaking. Excited. I felt smarter just by reading the Table of Contents.

Quick question... is it better for Ignatius Press (financially or otherwise) for me to order it through the site or to pick it up at my local Bookstore?

Mark Brumley

It's better financially for you to order through our website, but we also like our readers to support Catholic bookstores. Catholic bookstores are an important apostolate and they're often struggling to survive.

Nancy D.

I am wondering if there will be more quotes from the false gospel of st.thomas in this book and if you have determined who is responsible for either adding or deleting to the Pope's previous book, as there is no way that Pope Benedict would want anyone to believe that the gospel of st.thomas is anything but a false gospel.

F.Y.I.- http://community.babycenter.com/post/a22521037/jesus_birds_of_clay

Mark Brumley

In the first volume of Jesus of Nazareth, Pope Benedict does not quote the so-called Gospel of Thomas in order generally to endorse it. He quotes it to make the point that it agrees with the Gospel of John on a particular matter. He refers to the Gospel of Thomas as "apocryphal", so it is clear that he does not regard it as canonical.

In Jesus of Nazareth, Holy Week , Benedict does not refer to the Gospel of Thomas.

Carl E. Olson

Mark,

Nancy and I have discussed this before, but, alas, to no avail. It's not clear what is so bothersome to her...

DN

Maybe Nancy is doing a bit of performance art as an ode to the Pope's first volume. After all, she's taking up the historical-critical method on a contemporary work! And concluding that it cannot say what it says based on her knowledge/belief of what the author knows/believes. Therefore something must have been excised, or something must have been inserted.

That the author in question is alive and can repudiate a work or part of a work (or even an edit) doesn't seem to sway her, and neither does the fact that those who are in a position to (and do) receive the work are generally not up in arms about it. All in all, a not-bad send up of the method. If only she would have done some textual comparisons--say, is it any different in the German edition? the Italian? can we reconstruct *the original*?--would it be better.

Nancy D.

It is more than odd that Pope Benedict would quote from a gospel that he knows, we know is false. Something is not quite right.

Sharon

It is more than odd that Pope Benedict would quote from a gospel that he knows, we know is false. Something is not quite right.


Do you think global warming might be the explanation?

Nancy D.

Sharon, I think there is enough evidence that His Church is in serious trouble. I believe either our Holy Father was sending us a message or someone has excised or inserted information in The Holy Father's book on purpose in order to cause confusion.

Mark Brumley

Nancy writes:

It is more than odd that Pope Benedict would quote from a gospel that he knows, we know is false. Something is not quite right.

Sharon, I think there is enough evidence that His Church is in serious trouble. I believe either our Holy Father was sending us a message or someone has excised or inserted information in The Holy Father's book on purpose in order to cause confusion.

1. Have you read the section in which the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas is quoted? Do you understand what Pope Benedict is doing when he refers to the document in question?

2. Do you see that an author can quote a document in support of his position without thereby endorsing everything a document says?

3. You say that you "believe either our Holy Father was sending us a message or someone has excised or inserted information in The Holy Father's book on purpose in order to cause confusion".

What message was he sending, in your view?

Do you see that you are making a very serious accusation regarding the Holy Father and those who published his book? Have you a shred of evidence for your accusation that such tampering has occurred? That the Holy Father is unware of what is in the published version of his book? If not, how do you justify holding such an opinion and how do you justify making the accusation in public?

Nancy D.

The question is, why would our Holy Father quote a document that not only does not support his position, but is a false gospel to begin with? Of all the documents that could support his position, why quote from a false one? It makes no sense.

Carl E. Olson

Nancy: As I explained to you back in January, Benedict XVI is very likely making a point about the nature of early Christian teachings over against proto-Gnostic texts. Put simply, he is showing how proto-Gnostic/Gnostic groups used Christian language but had nothing to show for the language; it was simply a case of rhetorical smoke-and-mirrors. The fact is, the apocryphal "Gospel of Thomas" contains sayings that are very similar to some found in the Gospel of John.

If it is wrong to quote from "false gospels", what shall we do with the fact that the Gospels have quotes from Satan (cf. Mt. 4; Lk.4)? Quotes, in fact, in which he references the Book of Deuteronomy? Because, it seems clear, he is shown (by Jesus and the Evangelists) to be misusing truth for his own end--just as the Gnostics did. Benedict, in his own way, is doing the same thing.

Mark Brumley

Nancy, really? You really can't see a point in quoting a document you in other respects disagree with in order to show that on point X it agrees with you or with someone else you agree with? Really?

The question is, why would our Holy Father quote a document that not only does not support his position, but is a false gospel to begin with?

Well, the document he quotes does support his position in the point at issue. Have you read the passage we're talking about?

On the general idea of quoting people when they're right on a point even though you otherwise disagree with them or at least don't otherwise commit yourself to agreeing with them, are you really going to maintain that when, for example, St. Paul quotes pagan poets (e.g., Acts 17) that he is therefore underwriting the truth of everything those poets wrote? Or when the Epistle of Jude (14-15) quotes the apocryphal book of Enoch, it is thereby guaranteeing the totality of that book's content?

You really can't understand someone doing such a thing?

If you can't then I don't think there is much more I can say.

Nancy D.

No, Mark, I simply do not understand why our Holy Father would quote from a false gospel and not take the time to refute that false gospel, especially when one considers the fact that the quote is not consistent with the point he is trying to make. Our Holy Father knows that we are living in a time of great division which has caused much confusion, and that without a final authority, there can be no cohesiveness of belief, nor can there be unity in Christ's Church.
When seeking Truth, why would you not try to avoid confusion? I do not accuse our Holy Father, and I have great respect for St.Ignatius Press, but something is not quite right about the passage that quotes from the false gospel of st.thomas.

Mark Brumley

Nancy, I need to be blunt here and I do not desire to offend you. But: not everyone sees the world as you do. Not everyone is as worried about a wrongheaded inference being drawn from the fact that one quotes from a source others know or should know if they are being reasonable, that one does not wholly endorse.

It happens everyday that people quote sources in defense of a particular point without implying that they agree with the source in all respects. Pope Benedict has done that on many more occasions than the one we are discussing here. And he is, as I illustrate above with biblical examples, not alone.

That's the way the world of public argument and writing and public speaking operates. People who regularly participate in that world know this. If you are not aware of this, then it is important that you be aware of it. Perhaps that will help you understand why those of us who do regularly operate in that world have such a problem with your comments here.

You ask, "When seeking Truth, why would you not try to avoid confusion?". Well, I think very few people are likely confused in this particular case. If you are confused, I respectfully suggest you reflect carefully on what has been said here by the writers above and be open to the possibility that you're simply misreading things.

Nancy D.

"A saying from the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (108) points in a direction compatible with John's Gospel, 'Whoever drinks from my mouth shall become as I am.'" The term "as I am" implies equal with. Although we are called to follow Christ, we are not Christ.

Mark Brumley

Nancy: Please read the statement in context. JN background: pp. 245-246:

"But now we must listen more carefully to the text. It continues: “As the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his body shall flow rivers of living water’” (Jn 7:38). Out of whose body? Since the earliest times there have been two different answers to this question. The tradition started by Origen, which is associated with Alexandria, though the great Latin Fathers Jerome and Augustine also subscribe to it, reads the text thus: “He who believes . . . out of his body . . .”The believer himself becomes a spring, an oasis out of which bubbles up fresh, uncontaminated water, the life-giving power of the Creator Spirit. Alongside this tradition there is another, albeit much less widespread, from Asia Minor, which is closer to John in its origins. It is documented by Justin (d. 165), Irenaeus, Hippolytus, Cyprian, and Ephraim of Syria. It punctuates the text differently: “He who thirsts, let him come to me, and let him who believes in me drink it. As the Scripture says: out of his body rivers will flow.” “His body” is now applied to Christ: He is the source, the living rock, from which the new water comes.

So B16 refers to two traditions of interpretation re: Jn 7:38, one which applies it to the believer and one which applies it to Christ.

After some discussion that further fills out the treatment, B16 writes:

"The application of this passage primarily to Christ—as we saw earlier—does not have to exclude a secondary interpretation referring to the believer. A saying from the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas (108) points in a direction compatible with John’s Gospel: “Whoever drinks from my mouth shall become as I am” (Barrett, Gospel, p. 328). The believer becomes one with Christ and participates in his fruitfulness. The man who believes and loves with Christ becomes a well that gives life. That, too, is something that is wonderfully illustrated in history: The saints are oases around which life sprouts up and something of the lost paradise returns. And ultimately, Christ himself is always the well-spring who pours himself forth in such abundance."

B16 understands the saying he quotes from the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas as pointing "in a direction compatible with" B16's reading of John's Gospel on the specific point of the believer becoming one with Christ in such a way that the believer becomes, subordinately and derivatively, a "well that gives life". He sees this principle illustrated by the saints.

He does not understand the quote from the Gospel of Thomas in such a way as to imply the kind of equality with Christ you interpret it to mean.

I hope this clears up the matter for you.

Nancy D.

Mark,I did some investigation. Here is the full quote from the false gospel of thomas:

"Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am, and I will become that person, and the mysteries will be revealed to him."

I am wondering if Father Lombardi and Cardinal Bertone were involved in delivering the manuscript to the publishers?

http://www.ncregister.com/blog/pope-church-does-not-work-for-numbers-and-powers/

Mark Brumley

Ok, Nancy. You can't see any way to interpret the text above in the way the Pope does. That's unfortunate.

But as far as this discussion goes, I'm through. I don't know what more to say to you. I can't help you. You seem determined to find a conspiracy. That's too bad.

The Pope wrote the book. Not Father Lombardi and not Cardinal Bertone. The Pope's words have a quite reasonable interpretation--I've presented it above. But you insist on thinking someone else is responsible for the text because you refuse to read the text in the way I suggest above.

All I can say at this point is: If you have a problem with the text, you have a problem with the Pope, not other people. The Pope wrote it.

I wish you the best.

Nancy D.

Mark, to be clear, I don't have a problem with our Pope, I have a problem with part of the text.

Nancy D.

Not to mention the fact that there would not be a great apostasy, if there were not a group of persons secretly and unlawfully working within His Church to undermine the teaching of His Church, which I suppose could be defined as a type of conspiracy.

LarryD

Interesting discussion. But NancyD quoted from the false gospel of Thomas, and now I'm confused...

Nancy D.

When quoting from a false gospel, in a Time when there are many who claim that these gospels are not false gospels but rather were "lost" gospels, in order to avoid confusion, one would first make it clear that it is a false gospel and not a "lost" gospel to begin with. One would then not use a quote from this false gospel that is inconsistent with the point the author is trying to make, which is why I believe that something has been either added to or deleted from the original text.

Nancy D.

Not to mention to be like Christ is not to be Christ, nor does Christ become me, even if I am a temple of His Holy Spirit and thus He dwells in me.

Manuel G. Daugherty Razetto

Congratulations to Mark Brumley et al. for the exquisite taste, excellent task in the website www.jesusofnazareth2.com's presentation; the video is quite impressive. Well done.

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