Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in Matthew (RSV)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine, published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. I have also added my own suggested comparisons and possible parallels; these will be reproduced in green (NT); otherwise NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and
Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

1a) Matthew 4:4

But he answered, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

1b) Wisdom 16:26

so that thy sons, whom thou didst love, O Lord, might learn that it is not the production of crops that feeds man, but that thy word preserves those who trust in thee.

2a) Matthew 4:15

"The land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali, toward the sea, across the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles --

2b) 1 Maccabees 5:15

they said that against them had gathered together men of Ptolemais and Tyre and Sidon, and all Galilee of the Gentiles, "to annihilate us."

3a) Matthew 5:18

For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

3b) Baruch 4:1

She is the book of the commandments of God, and the law that endures for ever. All who hold her fast will live, and those who forsake her will die.

4a) Matthew 5:28
But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

4b) Sirach 9:8

Turn away your eyes from a shapely woman, and do not look intently at beauty belonging to another; many have been misled by a woman's beauty, and by it passion is kindled like a fire.

5a) Matthew 5:4
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

5b) Sirach 48:24

By the spirit of might he saw the last things, and comforted those who mourned in Zion.

6a) Matthew 6:7

"And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words.

6b) Sirach 7:14

Do not prattle in the assembly of the elders, nor repeat yourself in your prayer.

7a) Matthew 6:9

Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

7b) Sirach 23:1,4

O Lord, Father and Ruler of my life, do not abandon me to their counsel, and let me not fall because of them!

O Lord, Father and God of my life, do not give me haughty eyes,

8a) Matthew 6:10

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

8b) 1 Maccabees 3:60

But as his will in heaven may be, so he will do."

9a) Matthew 6:12

And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;

9b) Sirach 28:2

Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray.

10a) Matthew 6:13

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

10b) Sirach 33:1

No evil will befall the man who fears the Lord, but in trial he will deliver him again and again.

11a) Matthew 6:20

but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.

11b) Sirach 29:10s
10: Lose your silver for the sake of a brother or a friend, and do not let it rust under a stone and be lost.
11: Lay up your treasure according to the commandments of the Most High, and it will profit you more than gold.
12: Store up almsgiving in your treasury, and it will rescue you from all affliction;

12a) Matthew 7:12
So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

12b) Tobit 4:15 [a]
And what you hate, do not do to any one . . .

12c) Sirach 31:15
Judge your neighbor's feelings by your own, and in every matter be thoughtful.

13a) Matthew 7:16
You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles?

13b) Sirach 27:6
The fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree; so the expression of a thought discloses the cultivation of a man's mind.

14a) Matthew 8:11

I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

14b) Baruch 4:37

Behold, your sons are coming, whom you sent away; they are coming, gathered from east and west, at the word of the Holy One, rejoicing in the glory of God.

15a) Matthew 9:36
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

15b) Judith 11:19

. . . you will lead them like sheep that have no shepherd, . . .

16a) Matthew 10:16

"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

16b) Sirach 13:17

What fellowship has a wolf with a lamb? No more has a sinner with a godly man.

17a) Matthew 11:14
and if you are willing to accept it, he is Eli'jah who is to come.

[cf. Matthew 17:11 below]

17b) Sirach 48:10

you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. [see verses 1-9]
18a) Matthew 11:29

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

18b) Sirach 6:24s

23: Listen, my son, and accept my judgment; do not reject my counsel.
24: Put your feet into her fetters, and your neck into her collar.
25: Put your shoulder under her and carry her, and do not fret under her bonds.
26: Come to her with all your soul, and keep her ways with all your might.
27: Search out and seek, and she will become known to you; and when you get hold of her, do not let her go.

18c) Sirach 6:28s
28: For at last you will find the rest she gives, and she will be changed into joy for you.
29: Then her fetters will become for you a strong protection, and her collar a glorious robe.
30: Her yoke is a golden ornament, and her bonds are a cord of blue.
31: You will wear her like a glorious robe, and put her on like a crown of gladness.

18d) Sirach 51:26s
26: Put your neck under the yoke, and let your souls receive instruction; it is to be found close by.
27: See with your eyes that I have labored little and found myself much rest.

19a) Matthew 12:4
how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but
only for the priests?

19b) 2 Maccabees 10:3

They purified the sanctuary, and made another altar of sacrifice; then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices, after a lapse of two years, and they burned incense and lighted lamps and set out the bread of the Presence.

20a) Matthew 13:44
"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

20b) Sirach 20:30s

30: Hidden wisdom and unseen treasure, what advantage is there in either of them?
31: Better is the man who hides his folly than the man who hides his wisdom.

21a) Matthew 16:18

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.
[KJV: "gates of hell" / NIV: "gates of Hades" / the Greek is Hades]

21b) Wisdom 16:13
For thou hast power over life and death; thou dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again.

22a) Matthew 16:27

For the Son of man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay every man for what he has done.

22b) Sirach 35:18-19 [mistakenly listed as 35:22 in Nestle-Aland (or in Jimmy Akin's chart); the chapter has only 20 verses]
18: And the Lord will not delay, neither will he be patient with them, till he crushes the loins of the unmerciful and repays vengeance on the nations; till he takes away the multitude of the insolent, and breaks the scepters of the unrighteous;
19: till he repays the man according to his deeds, and the works of men according to their devices; till he judges the case of his people and makes them rejoice in his mercy.

23a) Matthew 17:11
He replied, "Eli'jah does come, and he is to restore all things;

[cf. Matthew 11:14 above]
23b) Sirach 48:10

you who are ready at the appointed time, it is written, to calm the wrath of God before it breaks out in fury, to turn the heart of the father to the son, and to restore the tribes of Jacob. [see verses 1-9]
24a) Matthew 18:10
"See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.

24b) Tobit 12:15

I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One."

25a) Matthew 23:38
Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate.

25b) Tobit 14:4
Go to Media, my son, for I fully believe what Jonah the prophet said about Nineveh, that it will be overthrown. But in Media there will be peace for a time. Our brethren will be scattered over the earth from the good land, and Jerusalem will be desolate. The house of God in it will be burned down and will be in ruins for a time.

26a) Matthew 27:24

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves."

26b) Daniel 13:46 [b] [Susanna 1:46]
. . . "I am innocent of the blood of this woman."

27a) Matthew 27:43
He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him; for he said, `I am the Son of God.'"

27b) Wisdom 2:13,18-20 [+12,14-17,21-22]
12: "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.
13: He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord.
14: He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
15: the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange.
16: We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father.
17: Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
18: for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
19: Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance.
20: Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."
21: Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them,
22: and they did not know the secret purposes of God, nor hope for the wages of holiness, nor discern the prize for blameless souls;

See also (from Nestle-Aland list):

Matthew 5:2ss and Sirach 25:7-12
Matthew 6:23 and Sirach 14:10
Matthew 6:33 and Wisdom 7:11
Matthew 8:21 and Tobit 4:3
Matthew 9:38 and 1 Maccabees 12:17
Matthew 11:22 and Judith 16:17
Matthew 11:25 and Tobit 7:17 / Sirach 51:1
Matthew 11:28 and Sirach 24:19 / Sirach 51:23
Matthew 12:5 and Sirach 40:15 [?]
Matthew 16:22 and 1 Maccabees 2:21
Matthew 20:2 and Tobit 5:15
Matthew 22:13 and Wisdom 17:2
Matthew 24:15 and 1 Maccabees 1:54 / 2 Maccabees 8:17
Matthew 24:16 and 1 Maccabees 2:28
Matthew 25:35 and Tobit 4:17
Matthew 25:36 and Sirach 7:32-35
Matthew 26:38 and Sirach 37:2

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Are Catholics Permitted to Believe That Elijah and Enoch Were Taken Up To Heaven?

[long citations will be in blue; my book excerpt will be in green]

Blog participant Dev Thakur asked:

Did Enoch and Elijah really go to Heaven before Christ opened it up to us? How could that be? Or did they just go to "the heavens" and wait for Christ?
I replied:

As for Enoch and Elijah, yes, they did go to heaven. I wrote about this in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism, [p. 134 in Sophia edition] as a roundabout argument in favor of purgatory:
We know from Scripture that a few Old Testament saints went to heaven before Christ went to Sheol and led (presumably) the majority of the pre-Christian righteous there (Ephesians 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:19-20). Elijah went straight to heaven by a whirlwind, as we are informed in 2 Kings 2:11. It is also generally thought by all sides that Enoch went directly to heaven as well (Genesis 5:24). Moses came with Elijah to the Mount of Transfiguration to talk with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-3, Mark 9:4, Luke 9:30-31). By implication, then, it could be held that he, too, had been in heaven, and by further logical inference, other Old Testament saintly figures.

It follows that, even before Christ, there was a "two-tiered" afterlife for the righteous: some, such as Elijah, Enoch and likely Moses and others, went to heaven, whereas a second, larger group went temporarily to Sheol. Likewise, now the elect of God can go straight to heaven if sufficiently holy, or to purgatory as a necessary stopping-point in order to attain to the proper sanctity becoming of inhabitants of heavenly glory. Therefore, it is neither true that all righteous dead before Christ went solely to Sheol, nor that all after His Resurrection went, and go, to heaven. On the other hand, the reprobate dead in Sheol (or Hades) eventually are sentenced to hell (Revelation 20:13-15).

Jason then wrote on my blog:

I must take exception to your opinion regarding Enoch and Elijah. The common teaching of the Church is that no human could enter the beatific vision before Christ. Enoch and Elijah may have entered a natural paradise (as they never died), and, as many believe, are the two "witnesses" spoken of in Revelation who will come to earth.

"Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, 'hell'—-'Sheol" in Hebrew or 'Hades' in Greek—-because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God. Such is the case for ALL OF the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the redeemer." (CCC 633)

Note that the Catechism does not make any exceptions.
I replied again:

According to Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., I am permitted to hold this opinion, as the Church has not finally determined the question. He wrote:

Presumably Elijah went to heaven without dying . . . No doubt Ecclesiasticus suggests that Enoch was directly taken to heaven.
Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman made a similar argument in his book, Meditations and Devotions [linked to this exact passage]:

IV. On the Assumption
(1) May 24

Mary is the "Sancta Dei Genetrix," the Holy Mother of God

As soon as we apprehend by faith the great fundamental truth that Mary is the Mother of God, other wonderful truths follow in its train; and one of these is that she was exempt from the ordinary lot of mortals, which is not only to die, but to become earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Die she must, and die she did, as her Divine Son died, for He was man; but various reasons have approved themselves to holy writers, why, although her body was for a while separated from her soul and consigned to the tomb, yet it did not remain there, but was speedily united to her soul again, and raised by our Lord to a new and eternal life of heavenly glory.

And the most obvious reason for so concluding is this—that other servants of God have been raised from the grave by the power of God, and it is not to be supposed that our Lord would have granted any such privilege to anyone else without also granting it to His own Mother.

We are told by St. Matthew, that after our Lord's death upon the Cross "the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had slept"—that is, slept the sleep of death, "arose, and coming out of the tombs after His Resurrection, came into the Holy City, and appeared to many." St. Matthew says, "many bodies of the Saints"—that is, the holy Prophets, Priests, and Kings of former times—rose again in anticipation of the last day.

Can we suppose that Abraham, or David, or Isaias, or Ezechias, should have been thus favoured, and not God's own Mother? Had she not a claim on the love of her Son to have what any others had? Was she not nearer to Him than the greatest of the Saints before her? And is it conceivable that the law of the grave should admit of relaxation in their case, and not in hers? Therefore we confidently say that our Lord, having preserved her from sin and the consequences of sin by His Passion, lost no time in pouring out the full merits of that Passion upon her body as well as her soul.

St. Alphonsus de Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, also used the analogy of Elijah ("Elias" -- the Latin form) to the Assumption of Mary, in his book, The Glories of Mary (1750):

The prophet Elias was carried to heaven in a fiery chariot . . . "But to conduct thee to heaven, O Mother of God," says the Abbot Rupert, "a fiery chariot was not enough; the whole court of heaven, headed by its King thy Son, went forth to meet and accompany thee."

(Part the Second; Discourse VIII: Second Discourse on the Assumption of Mary; section I: "How glorious was the triumph of Mary when she ascended to heaven"; p. 425 in my edition [translated and edited by Eugene Grimm, Brooklyn: Redemptorist Fathers, 1931)

Early bishops did, too:

Theoteknos, a 6th century Bishop of Jericho . . . argued that since Elijah ascended and since a place in heaven had been prepared for the apostles, so the much the more must Mary have ascended to a place prepared for her.

Pope John Paul II stated in a General Audience on July 21, 1999 that Enoch and Elijah went to heaven:

The depiction of heaven as the transcendent dwelling-place of the living God is joined with that of the place to which believers, through grace, can also ascend, as we see in the Old Testament accounts of Enoch (cf. Gn 5:24) and Elijah (cf. 2 Kgs 2:11).
The "Quick Questions" from This Rock (July-August 2002), dealt with the question as follows:

Q: In the Old Testament we see Elijah being taken (presumably) body and soul into heaven. I understood that according to Catholic teaching, only Mary has been assumed body and soul into heaven. Obviously, just men like Moses and Elijah could not get into heaven itself until Jesus’ time. But I’m still left with the quandary of Elijah: Was his body there ahead of Mary’s?

A: According to Scripture, Enoch and Elijah may have been assumed into heaven before the time of Christ. This is less clear in Enoch's case, since Genesis 5:24 says only that God "took" him, but doesn't say where. Sirach 44:16 and 49:14 make it clear that he was taken up from the earth, and Hebrews 11:5 adds "so that he should not see death."

In Elijah's case, 2 Kings 2:11 states that "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven." 1 Maccabees 2:58 adds, "Elijah because of great zeal for the Law was taken up into heaven. " Taken at face value, these would seem to indicate that both Enoch and Elijah were assumed into heaven. But the Church teaches that heaven was not yet opened to the saints because Christ had not yet come. How can this be explained?

One possible explanation is to say that they didn't really go to heaven but to the abode of the dead where the souls of the righteous were waiting for the Messiah to open heaven. A difficulty is that the abode of the dead, or she'ol, is pictured in the Old Testament as being down (e.g., Num. 16:33 speaks of Korah and his followers going "down alive into she'ol"), yet Enoch and Elijah are depicted as being taken up.

Another possibility would be to say they were taken up but to a different kind of heaven than the one Christ opened. Or it is possible to say simply that they received entrance to heaven as a grace which came from the redemption Christ wrought – only they received it early, as did Mary when she was immaculately conceived. Like Mary, Enoch and Elijah may have been foretastes of the good things to come. In such a case, they would be exceptions to the rule. But God can do what he wants.

Valentine Long, O.F.M., in his book, The Mother of God (Franciscan Herald Press, 1976), further clarifies the issue for us:

Whether any human bodies but those of Mary and her divine Son are already in heaven, does not fall within the confines of doctrine. There may be others. But the faithful are not obliged to believe there are. The Church allows the possibility without enforcing it.

There are those, among the biblical scholars, who consider the possibility a distinct probability. They first point out an Old Testament passage which tells of Enoch suddenly disappearing from view because "God took him." and then another which specifies that "he was taken up from the earth" (Gen. 5:24; Sir. 48:9). They next quote from the New Testament this confirmative text: "Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death; and he was not found, because God had taken him" (Heb. 11:5). Nor does the inquiry end with Enoch. A second prophet, who at the Transfiguration would reappear with Moses on Mount Tabor, on the hills of Moab was whisked away into the skies while his companion stood by in amazement. "Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven is as plain words can say it, and the witness "saw him no more" (2 (4) Kings 2:11-12).

That Elijah departed alive in such a flurry, and momentarily reappeared at the Transfiguration, and according to a prophecy would return again to minister to his people, all reinforces the mystery of his present whereabouts. Where has he gone? Where has Enoch gone? Neither of them died. But since the heaven of heavens was closed to humanity before its Savior's death, the question arises: were they detained until then in Limbo and afterwards graduated to the beatitude of the angels? Limbo (known in the Old Testament as "Abraham's bosom") had certainly been the place of detention for departed souls fit for heaven as soon as their Savior would open it to them, but in the case of Enoch and Elijah we are dealing with animated bodies. Where now are these? Is it out of the question to suppose that the two may have been taken, body and soul, into heaven? The Church does not say.

Nor has her magisterium chosen to speak with finality on what happened to those many risen bodies of Good Friday. Did they die again? Or were they taken to heaven? Is St. Joseph there now, body as well as soul? A select group of theologians, an even larger group of mystics, and sometimes theologians who were mystics, think so. They think the Holy Family are all together again. They think that the body that labored so faithfully and lovingly to provide a livelihood for Jesus and Mary is with them in glory. Suarez does. But why go into the long enumeration? St. Francis de Sales in lauding the foster father to and beyond the skies was singing no solo but contributing to a chorus. 

That should be sufficient, I think, to demonstrate that any Catholic is fully permitted to hold such a view.

Friday, January 28, 2005

A Level-Headed, Sensible, Realistic, Respectful Ecumenism (Tom Hunt)

I received this from a friend of mine, Tom Hunt (huntt@waldorf.edu). I thought it was so well-written, that I wanted to share it with my blog readers:

Letter to a Friend About Ecumenism


Jon, you would be surprised with what conviction I defend evangelicals here in liberal Lutheran land. For many people I have met, a caricature is all they can see when they think of bible-believers, a picture of a person comes to mind who is mean, judgmental, and says "it's easy to get saved and be part of the party if you'll only be a narrow thoughtless anti-intellectual bigot." I find it amazing that this is the image they call up every time when you say evangelical. They can't see anything else. When you live inside the camp it's a hard fact to swallow, but it's true.

When I think of the evangelicals I immediately see some of the most thoughtful and noble people I have ever met.

You have to keep that in mind. I have a great deal of respect for the folks at TIU who had to ask me to leave. They have some convictions beyond "i'm ok - your'e ok". We have a LOT in common.

Ecumenism is at its best when people adhere strongly to their tradition. CS Lewis said he had much more in common with anyone who took his own religion seriously than with some one who lives on the periphery of all traditions, embracing none with any gusto.

C. S. Lewis of course had the courage and audacity to say that his position was correct, that other religions, outside of Christianity, though they contained much truth (especially in the moral sphere) were, at the end of day the woefully inadequate in addressing the real predicament in which man finds himself. Only Christianity attacks the problem of sin and redemption directly. Only Christianity shows God coming to man, where all other religions show man attempting to make his way to God.

So your complaint, "Although it is hard at times when those who think that their tradition is the only possible way begin to dialogue" is, in the grand scheme of things also a common complaint against the likes of Lewis, "how is any one supposed to dialog with a narrow minded person who thinks he is right and others are wrong?"

So our dialog, yours and mine, will always suffer the tension of the fact that 1) you really think the intercession of the saints is at best a sort of cultural-peripheral thing which can be regarded as non-essential and I really cannot live without their prayers. For you, devotion to the Theotokos is at best a quaint practice of misled, primitive people (and at worst outright idol worship) and for me is it absolutely central to the maintenance of a faith with historical and yes Christological teeth. For you the Pope is a good guy (well this one is, anyway) whom you are glad to call brother, but who attempts to play a role you think is at best unnecessary, and at worst a big hindrance. For me his unifying voice, and the authority vested in his office are two very good reasons why Christianity is still an indentifiable body of people to this day, in spite of all the troubles. And finally for you communion can be taken or left, done once a month, once a year, or whenever, by whomever, and for me it is in fact the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Christ, who is the Bread of Heaven, who comes to me under the appearance of bread and wine in invisible but none-the-less very real glory and might.

We have real disagreements. When we dialog we can leave them aside. But we cannot pretend that either of us hold them to be non-essential.

With great love and the deepest respect,

your friend


Thursday, January 27, 2005

My Eclectic Musical Tastes and Instruments I Can Play

I don't think many people, who read my apologetic writings, realize how much into music I am. I always say that music and history were my first loves: long before I knew any theology from a hole in the ground. I can play (or have played at one time or another) seven instruments: piano (at least, earlier in my life, when I got good enough to play Chopin's Minute Waltz at age 11), trombone (I took lessons from the first chair trombone in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to get into a prestigious symphony band and symphony orchestra for the best public high school in Detroit: Cass Technical High School).

Cass has a long tradition of musical excellence. That was great: we played actual symphonies and other classical pieces. I played violin for a short time, then taught myself baritone, and (in 1980) guitar and blues harp (harmonica). I can also play the tin whistle. I'm sure I could also play drums if I had the chance, as I love percussion and rhythm. And trumpet and French horn would merely involve variants of the keys of baritone, so I'm sure I would be able to learn those if I wanted to (though they are more difficult, because of the smaller mouthpiece). The French horn is actually my favorite orchestra instrument to listen to.

By the end of high school, I was able to sight-read the score to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and play the trombone solo in Mahler's Third Symphony. In high school, the brass section of our band had the thrill of once playing Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. But alas, I never kept up trombone after graduating in 1976. It's not exactly the type of instrument that you sit around and play in the house! You have to be in a band, or forget it.

These days, I restrict myself mainly to listening and collecting music (I must have at least 2000 albums), and occasionally writing about it. Here are some of the things I have been buying and listening to lately:

I've recently been on a Cajun kick. The word Cajun comes the original Acadian. Acadia is present-day Nova Scotia, and the Acadians were the French settlers there. On our vacation last summer we camped for several days near a beatiful Acadian fishing village, Cheticamp, up in Cape Breton, which is the gorgeous Northern part of Nova Scotia. While there, I had the pleasure of attending a Cajun concert (even got to dance a bit). I was told that Cajun culture is quite distinct from French Quebec culture. The French in Nova Scotia, were, unfortunately kicked out of the land after the French and Indian War of the 1750s. Most of them were forced to relocate in Louisiana (much like the American Indians were forced to Oklahoma for a time, and then to various reservations, when their land was being stolen and their culture raped by the dominant European-American culture).

Despite this sad history, the music produced by the Cajuns is incredible. In Detroit (which was founded by a Frenchman, Cadillac, in 1701, and has a great French heritage of its own), we have a free world music concert every July, called The Concert of Colors. I have heard some amazing musicians at this great annual event, including early rock stars, such as Bo Diddley, Little Richard, and the one and only Ray Charles (Los Lobos, one of my very favorite rock groups, has also played there twice). One of the groups I got to hear was called the Bluerunners: a sort of "alt-Cajun" band. I liked them immediately, and finally got around to searching and finding five of their albums the other night on the Internet. The albums are as good as I remember them being in concert. They're extremely infectious. So far, I have listened to To the Country (1998) and Le Grand Bleu (2001). Their self-titled first album (1991), is available in a used copy on amazon for only 99 cents right now. Go get it if you like this kind of thing!

Wonderful stuff. For those unfamiliar with Cajun music, it is usually heavy on violins and accordions, which play a repetitious, catchy rhythmic background. Guitars are also prominent in the sound. Apart from that, it is sort of an amalgam of bluegrass and old-timey footstompin' acoustic folk music, and sounds somewhat like rockabilly (early white rock and roll). That's how I categorize it, anyway. Amazon usually allows you to hear short samples of songs. Try it, you'll like it, if you like roots country, bluegrass, or folk music. It's irresistible.

I also picked up last week a four-disc box set at a discount price, called Cajun Early Recordings: Important Swamp Hits Remastered (2004). These songs go back to the 1920s and 1930s, and collect the important early stuff (much like Jimmie Rodgers' and the Carter Family's roles in the formation of modern country music). For more about Cajun music, see Cajuns.com and Listmania! Cajun Music 101.

Excited about finding these albums, I looked for those of other musicians I had heard at the Concert of Colors. Prominent among these is Amampondo, an African group that offers some of the most exciting, pulsating music I have ever heard. Imagine the group Santana (their early stuff), only with far more complex African rhythms and additional percussion instruments, and ten times more intense and driving. I was able to purchase their album Vuyani (2000) for only 98 cents (that offer is still available for used albums on amazon). I also ordered State of Emergency (1995).

To get great deals on music, compare amazon (especially used copies) with the prices on the website Music Stack. Between those two, you're not likely to get a cheaper price. If you do, please let me know about other services!

Another African singer I was privileged to be able to hear for free, is the magnificent world artist, from Bénin: Angélique Kidjo. I have her albums Ayé (1994), Keep on Moving (Best of) (2001), and Black Ivory Soul (2002). Listen to the amazon song samples. You'll love it! When I first saw her in concert, I was also introduced to Trilok Gurtu, whom my jazz / world musician brother-in-law Ken Kozora was raving about as "the best drummer in the world." Here I was listening to a blistering concert by a recent version of the band, War, and, intrigued by his description, I decided to leave that and make my way to a smallish tent out of the main outdoor arena.

What I discovered there was so extraordinary that I would never be the same again. Gurtu (at least lately) plays a sort of hybrid of African pop, Indian traditional music, with funk and rock and jazz elements mixed in. I was absolutely overwhelmed. I was in this little tent listening to an absolute master of his craft. I was in "music heaven." It was like how I imagine it would have been experiencing (no pun intended) Hendrix or Coltrane in person. The music is amazing. I have his albums, African Fantasy (2000), and The Beat of Love (2001): both (obviously) enthusiastically recommended, with my highest rating.

Another one of my great loves is Celtic music. We saw the Chieftains in concert once, and recently I purchased the album Runaway Sunday (1997), by the Irish group Altan, whom many consider the finest Irish group today, even better than the Chieftains (which is putting the bar very high). That's still available used at amazon for $1.88! Their shipping price is $2.49 per disc, so you can buy the album for only $4.37 postpaid.

To switch over to a very different genre, I've loved the German synthesizer / electronic group Kraftwerk since the mid-70s. It turns out I was 15 or so years before my time, as many are now saying that Kraftwerk was a major influence on current techno-pop and (various kinds of) electronic music. I got to see them in concert in 1981, when their album Computer World had just come out (with the hit song, Pocket Calculator). Other good albums by them are Radio-Activity (1975), Trans-Europe Express (1977), and The Man Machine (1978; featuring We Are the Robots). I ran across these albums on amazon and coudn't resist buying them, as I was dumb enough to get rid of all my old vinyl records from them (I had all of 'em).

I also picked up The Mix (1991), which slightly re-did some of their best songs, giving them more punch and rhythm (even a very infectious funkiness in some songs). It's fantastic. My kids love it! The most exciting thing of all was learning about a new album by them (the first since 1986): Tour de France Soundtracks (2003). It's excellent; more hypnotic and musically subtle than their old stuff. They've clearly been influenced, in turn, by all the electoric music that has come out soince their heyday.

I love rockabilly music. It's one of my very favorites. While in my local music store lately, I discovered new UK EMI releases (2004) of the best of Gene Vincent (of Be bop a lula fame) and Eddie Cochran (who was tragically killed in a car crash in 1960). These guys sizzle. It's great early rock and roll, with 30 and 32 songs on one CD.

I love 50s doo-wop vocal music, too. Recently I ordered the Very Best of the Spaniels (my favorite doo-wop group), and Very Best , Vol. 2. Anyone who likes this kind of music must (it's a legal requirement) obtain the The Doo-Wop Box and The Doo Wop Box Volume II (currently available for $40 and $30 used, on amazon).

Lastly (I could go on and on with this), I am crazy about a box set called Sam Cooke With the Soul Stirrers. I consider Sam Cooke to be the best singer of all time (in terms of actual voice quality and what he does with his voice). This music: sizzling 50s gospel which would make a dead man (even a mummy!) get up and dance and wave his hands (and perhaps get right with God, too), is extraordinary beyond description. I would say that in several respects it is even better than the bulk of Cooke's (very good) pop work. His singing in these earlier recordings is beyond belief: absolutely awesome. If you like either Sam Cooke or older gospel music, get this. You won't regret it.

I don't know a whole lot about 50s gospel, but I do know that another incredible group of roughly the same style is the Dixie Hummingbirds (Paul Simon had them sing back-up on his song, Loves me Like a Rock, in 1973). This is the stuff (speaking of gospel music generally) that led to R & B, which in turn was perhaps the biggest influence on the origin of rock and roll. It's an essential musical education.

It's really fun to listen to the sample on amazon of all these great old (and new) albums. Buying music is a lot less risky than it used to be, with all these advantages we have today, and you can get great deals on the Internet in such an easy way by just surfing around a bit (and knowing where to go to find them).

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Post-Postscript to Armstrong-Babinski Debate on the Psalms

[Ed Babinski's words will be in blue]

For those who haven't followed this, here are the previous installments:

Reply to "The Problem of Pain and the Egomania of the Psalms" 

Ed's Attempt to Enlist an Ancient Near East Scholar in Support Backfires (Dr.
James Roger Black vs. Ed Babinski; compiled, and additional commentary by Dave Armstrong) 


Hi Ed,

Hope you are well.

Below is the email message I told you about, which I sent to about 50 e-friends of mine on Dec. 17th, 2004, to try and drum up interest at your blog site. I did it all for us and your blog site. As we both know, few were even interested in the topic enough to read and respond to what you
had written.

[Catholic convert and web-pologist Dave Armstrong has produced a massive
pro-Catholic website over the years. The story of his conversion to
Catholicism appears in a bestselling book of similar converts (mostly
former Protestantism I think), and he has published numerous books of
Catholic apologetics, all available at amazon.com, that strive to make
Catholicism and its various unique doctrines and practices appear in as
rational a light as possible, as well as having published in-depth
counters to both Protestantism and Modernism. Dave recently composed a
long web piece at his blog-site criticizing one of my shorter pieces on
the psalms. He continues to write in a pretty friendly fashion and invite
my response, as well as the responses of any readers of the debate, and he
publishes them all at his blog-site. Most folks who read Dave's blog are
Christians and respond in kind. His blog could probably use just a few
non-Christian responses or even moderate Christian responses from moderate
Christian university profs, to balance matters out a tad: ]

I was aware of that and have no problem with it. Your webmaster was the one who apparently started down the path of poisoning the well, with her potshots at my supposed motives and shortcomings. This was unnecessary and unhelpful. I'm not the "bad guy" for simply objecting to that "hijacking" of what had the potential to be a fruitful discussion.

What exactly were you seeking or hoping to accomplish in responding to my psalms piece?

To show that your reasoning and conclusions did not follow. Frankly, I should think that was obvious, but hey, I'm always glad to clarify, and so I appreciate the opportunity.

And why begin with that piece?

It was short and to the point. I didn't have the time (or the desire) to take on one of your epics (I had to constantly point out that your ever-present lengthy diversions were non sequiturs, as it was). One has to start somewhere. I remembered that you had written some friendly letters, and so I decided to take on one of your papers and see what happened. You struck me as a guy who would be willing to dialogue and I am always on the lookout for that.

Technically speaking, I don't see how you were ever going to help me reason my way to agreeing with you that every last verse in the Psalms is inspired by God 

But that wasn't my goal at all. You confuse defeating a fallacious argument with making a positive argument. My project was the former. You simply projected the latter project onto my argument and supposed goals, when it was never there. It was second-guessing, and you guessed wrong.

anymore than I can imagine other types of cursing-imprecatory literature found outside the Bible to be "inspired."

Furthermore there are plenty of non cursing-non imprecatory verses and literature, both in the Bible and in non-Christian literature, that strike me as being more "inspired" if that's the right word.

I'm well aware that skeptics have a problem with these verses, but that gets back to the nature of the literature which is vastly misunderstood (a major theme of my replies). I bypassed a complex subject in and of itself (imprecatory psalms), only commenting on it briefly, and went to the large backdrop issue of interpretation of Hebrew poetry. You say that was irrelevant and off-topic (and perhaps evasive). I say it was exactly on-topic and crucial in order for the discussion to progress. One must examine premises. You had your hidden premises, and I was questioning them. This is my Socratic method.

You may not always follow my reasoning, but I am what I am and don't attempt to change like some sort of chameleon, in my discussions. I try to "be all things to all people," as St. Paul urged, but I don't fundamentally change my philosophical methodology. I challenge premises and try to get people to (1) be aware of theirs, and (2) defend them from critique. I think you have a ways to go on both counts, with regard to this particular argument of yours (insofar as it can be called an "argument" at all and not simply an emotional, essentially non-rational objection precipitated by a sad and troubling event -- the funeral of a friend).

If you can't grasp what I have said above, then I suppose we truly are of entirely different minds concerning the Bible, but then, C. S. Lewis also appears to be of his own mind concerning such the Bible and the psalms, and he was a Christian. 

You are the one who clearly hasn't grasped my argument. I have shown this over and over. You assume I am being simplistic and ignorant. That's a big mistake.

In the end, I also think it more important what type of person someone is, rather than placing a person's beliefs before getting to know them.

I completely agree that there are nice, wonderful people in all belief-systems. That's not my beef. Never was . . . I am dealing with comparative belief-systems and trying to show the weaknesses of the non-Christian and non-Catholic ones and the strengths of my own. I assume the good will and decency of folks unless and until I am provided incontrovertible evidence otherwise. :-)

I have friends of different beliefs,

As do I. I have a good atheist friend who regularly attended my group discussion meetings. I have a Baptist friend who is a Marxist or socialist (or however he would class himself). He has been a friend of mine for almost 20 years. I saw both at a new years' party.

and even within Catholicism there are far right wing and far left wing believers, members of various lay groups, who hardly see eye to eye on many different matters, even breakaway Catholic groups (like pre-Vatican 2 Catholics churches that kept the Latin Mass), and rent-a-priests (married former priests whom you can phone and they will come and do mass for you).
Of course.

Here is the email I had sent out to 50 people I knew, including about ten Christians, but who apparently did not have either the time or interest in our debate: [posted above] 

Well, that's not unusual, as I'm sure you know. Very few people are interested in true debate. How well I know that. And this trait crosses all lines of party affiliation, believe me. The people who drive me the most nuts are other Christians. I have two prominent anti-Catholic apologists calling me a liar and deceiver as I write (see the recent blog entry where I protested this abominable [public] treatment). You just said I was boring and off-subject (and, perhaps implied: intolerant). LOLOLOL That's small change!

If you weren't aware of it, I posted your exchange with James Roger Black that you (and he) forwarded to me. I think your attempt there to make me look like a simplistic would-be fundamentalist hyper-literal Bible interpreter, backfired, to put it mildly. You should learn from this, Ed. I don't fit into the box that you have tried to put me in. Nor do, I think, many Christians you cite, not the least of whom, C.S. Lewis, as Dr. Black illustrated. We all need to get over stereotypical thinking, and that includes most assuredly, many Christians and their wild misconceptions of atheists and agnostics such as yourself. Both sides (I'm speaking now very broadly) have lied about and misrepresented the other to scandalous proportions, and it is time for true thinkers to get beyond that. We can unite on many commonly-held grounds and have good discussion without the personal elements and suspicions that destroy discussion every time.

I shall add this exchange to that paper also, unless you have some objection. I like free speech. Let both sides express themselves and let onlookers decide who makes more sense . . .

Take care,


Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Possible References to the Deuterocanon (aka "Apocrypha") in Romans (RSV)

Derived from pp. 800-804 of the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, 27th edition (Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine, published by Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft; see the web page from Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin, which reproduced the list. I have also added my own suggested comparisons and possible parallels; these will be reproduced in green (NT); otherwise NT passages listed in Nestle-Aland will be in blue, and Deuterocanonical passages in red. Alleged references listed by verse only at the end were deemed (by myself) dissimilar and questionable or non-convincing enough to not reproduce.

[Bible passages were retrieved from the RSV Bible, with Apocrypha, from the University of Virginia Electronic Text Center]

1a) Romans 1:19-32

19: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.
20: Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; 21: for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.
22: Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
23: and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
24: Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
25: because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
26: For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural,
27: and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
28: And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.
29: They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips,
30: slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,
31: foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.
32: Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.

1b) Wisdom 13:1-10, 14:8-31
1: For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;
2: but they supposed that either fire or wind or swift air, or the circle of the stars, or turbulent water, or the luminaries of heaven were the gods that rule the world.
3: If through delight in the beauty of these things men assumed them to be gods, let them know how much better than these is their Lord, for the author of beauty created them.
4: And if men were amazed at their power and working, let them perceive from them how much more powerful is he who formed them.
5: For from the greatness and beauty of created things comes a corresponding perception of their Creator.
6: Yet these men are little to be blamed, for perhaps they go astray while seeking God and desiring to find him.
7: For as they live among his works they keep searching, and they trust in what they see, because the things that are seen are beautiful.
8: Yet again, not even they are to be excused;
9: for if they had the power to know so much that they could investigate the world, how did they fail to find sooner the Lord of these things?
10: But miserable, with their hopes set on dead things, are the men who give the name "gods" to the works of men's hands, gold and silver fashioned with skill, and likenesses of animals, or a useless stone, the work of an ancient hand.


8: But the idol made with hands is accursed, and so is he who made it; because he did the work, and the perishable thing was named a god.
9: For equally hateful to God are the ungodly man and his ungodliness,
10: for what was done will be punished together with him who did it.
11: Therefore there will be a visitation also upon the heathen idols, because, though part of what God created, they became an abomination, and became traps for the souls of men and a snare to the feet of the foolish.
12: For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them was the corruption of life,
13: for neither have they existed from the beginning nor will they exist for ever.
14: For through the vanity of men they entered the world, and therefore their speedy end has been planned.
15: For a father, consumed with grief at an untimely bereavement, made an image of his child, who had been suddenly taken from him; and he now honored as a god what was once a dead human being, and handed on to his dependents secret rites and initiations.
16: Then the ungodly custom, grown strong with time, was kept as a law, and at the command of monarchs graven images were worshiped.
17: When men could not honor monarchs in their presence, since they lived at a distance, they imagined their appearance far away, and made a visible image of the king whom they honored, so that by their zeal they might flatter the absent one as though present.
18: Then the ambition of the craftsman impelled even those who did not know the king to intensify their worship.
19: For he, perhaps wishing to please his ruler, skilfully forced the likeness to take more beautiful form,
20: and the multitude, attracted by the charm of his work, now regarded as an object of worship the one whom shortly before they had honored as a man.
21: And this became a hidden trap for mankind, because men, in bondage to misfortune or to royal authority, bestowed on objects of stone or wood the name that ought not to be shared.
22: Afterward it was not enough for them to err about the knowledge of God, but they live in great strife due to ignorance, and they call such great evils peace.
23: For whether they kill children in their initiations, or celebrate secret mysteries, or hold frenzied revels with strange customs,
24: they no longer keep either their lives or their marriages pure, but they either treacherously kill one another, or grieve one another by adultery,
25: and all is a raging riot of blood and murder, theft and deceit, corruption, faithlessness, tumult, perjury,
26: confusion over what is good, forgetfulness of favors, pollution of souls, sex perversion, disorder in marriage, adultery, and debauchery.
27: For the worship of idols not to be named is the beginning and cause and end of every evil.
28: For their worshipers either rave in exultation, or prophesy lies, or live unrighteously, or readily commit perjury;
29: for because they trust in lifeless idols they swear wicked oaths and expect to suffer no harm. 30: But just penalties will overtake them on two counts: because they thought wickedly of God in devoting themselves to idols, and because in deceit they swore unrighteously through contempt for holiness.
31: For it is not the power of the things by which men swear, but the just penalty for those who sin, that always pursues the transgression of the unrighteous.

[see also the rest of chapters 13 and 14, and chapter 15]

2a) Romans 1:20, 1:21

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened.

2b) Wisdom 13:1
For all men who were ignorant of God were foolish by nature; and they were unable from the good things that are seen to know him who exists, nor did they recognize the craftsman while paying heed to his works;

3a) Romans 1:23
and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.

3b) Wisdom 11:15

In return for their foolish and wicked thoughts, which led them astray to worship irrational serpents and worthless animals, thou didst send upon them a multitude of irrational creatures to punish them,

3c) Wisdom 12:24

For they went far astray on the paths of error, accepting as gods those animals which even their enemies despised; they were deceived like foolish babes.

4a) Romans 2:4
Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

4b) 2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

4c) Acts 17:30
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent,

4d) Wisdom 11:23

But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things, and thou dost overlook men's sins, that they may repent.

5a) Romans 2:11

For God shows no partiality.

5b) Sirach 35:12
Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice; for the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality.

6a) Romans 2:15

They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them

6b) Wisdom 17:11

For wickedness is a cowardly thing, condemned by its own testimony; distressed by conscience, it has always exaggerated the difficulties.

7a) Romans 4:13

The promise to Abraham and his descendants, that they should inherit the world, did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

7b) Sirach 44:21

Therefore the Lord assured him by an oath that the nations would be blessed through his posterity; that he would multiply him like the dust of the earth, and exalt his posterity like the stars, and cause them to inherit from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

8a) Romans 4:17
as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations" -- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.

8b) Sirach 44:19

Abraham was the great father of a multitude of nations, and no one has been found like him in glory;

9a) Romans 5:5

and hope does not disappoint us, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.

9b) Sirach 18:11

Therefore the Lord is patient with them and pours out his mercy upon them.

10a) Romans 5:12
Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned --

10b) Wisdom 2:24
but through the devil's envy death entered the world, and those who belong to his party experience it.

11a) Romans 9:4

They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises;

11b) Sirach 44:12

Their descendants stand by the covenants; their children also, for their sake.

12a) Romans 9:19

You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?"

12b) Wisdom 12:12
For who will say, "What hast thou done?" Or will resist thy judgment? Who will accuse thee for the destruction of nations which thou didst make? Or who will come before thee to plead as an advocate for unrighteous men?

13a) Romans 9:21
Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?

13b) Wisdom 15:7
For when a potter kneads the soft earth and laboriously molds each vessel for our service, he fashions out of the same clay both the vessels that serve clean uses and those for contrary uses, making all in like manner; but which shall be the use of each of these the worker in clay decides.

14a) Romans 10:6
But the righteousness based on faith says, Do not say in your heart, "Who will ascend into heaven?" (that is, to bring Christ down)

14b) Baruch 3:29

Who has gone up into heaven, and taken her, and brought her down from the clouds?

15a) Romans 10.7
or "Who will descend into the abyss?" (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

15b) Wisdom 16.13
For thou hast power over life and death; thou dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again.

16a) Romans 11:33
O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

16b) Wisdom 17:1

Great are thy judgments and hard to describe; therefore unintructed souls have gone astray.

17a) Romans 12:15

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

17b) Sirach 7:34

Do not fail those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn.

18a) Romans 13:1

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

18b) Wisdom 6:3
For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High, who will search out your works and inquire into your plans.

19a) Romans 13.10
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

19b) Wisdom 6.18
and love of her is the keeping of her laws, and giving heed to her laws is assurance of immortality,

23a) Romans 15:4
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope.

23b) 1 Maccabees 12:9
Therefore, though we have no need of these things, since we have as encouragement the holy books which are in our hands,

See also (from Nestle-Aland list):
Romans 1:28 and 2 Maccabees 6:4

Romans 9:31 and Sirach 27:8 and Wisdom 2:11

Monday, January 10, 2005

It's Greek to Me: An Illuminating Encounter With Eric Svendsen (From the Archives)

From my paper: Response to Protestant Apologists Eric Svendsen's and David T. King's Public Charge of My Alleged "Deceit" and Inability to Debate:

Another lamentable incident on a discussion board reveals certain shortcomings in Dr. Svendsen's dialogical tactics, also. One anti-Catholic slanderer wrote on a large Catholic Discussion Board, in early October 2003:

It is true that I have taken Dave to task in the past for attempting, in his self-admitted near-total ignorance of the Greek language, to correct men who have studied Greek professionally for years as to their analysis of grammatical conventions and figures of speech and so forth, . . .
This is another falsehood that this person has been stating about me for about two years now. I have explained myself more than once, but to no avail. He keeps repeating this incident and putting his cynical slant on it. To hear him describe it, I do sound truly ridiculous and like some sort of arrogant know-it-all. This is based on an actual dispute and ugly Internet exchange, but when one learns all of the facts, they gain an entirely different impression than the one left above. The last time he brought this up I was determined to retrieve the exchange to show people what had happened, but it was too old, and no longer online. The facts are these:

1. I was in a discussion (in January 2002) on this board with Dr. Eric Svendsen about Luke 1:28 and the meaning of kecharitomene ("full of grace" or "highly favored"). It was an argument about Mary's Immaculate Conception (specifically, whether she was sinless). At the same time, I was critiquing some related arguments from Svendsen along the same lines (to which he never responded). That is found in the following paper:

Luke 1:28 (Full of Grace) and the Immaculate Conception: Linguistic and Exegetical Considerations

I cited Greek scholars in favor of the meaning of this phrase here as "completely, perfectly, enduringly endowed with grace." The scholars were Blass and DeBrunner (Greek Grammar of the New Testament, and H.W. Smyth, Greek Grammar -- Harvard Univ. Press, 1968). They are cited in footnote number 188 in my book, A Biblical Defense of Catholicism (Sophia edition), page 178. Svendsen said that he had heard of Blass and DeBrunner, but not Smyth. He proceeded to minimize Smyth's importance and severely criticized me for trying to argue a point of Greek grammar with him (since he knows Greek).

2. I quickly proved (from extensive Internet searches) that Smyth was a very well-known Greek scholar, whose work is used in many important colleges for Greek courses. Now, the point was that Svendsen had hardly even heard of the guy (if at all) and wanted to pretend he was a nobody. That was shown to be clearly false. But what does that show about Svendsen's attitude and competence in the field of Greek linguistics? When one acts like they know something that they don't know (in this case, concerning the importance of Smyth), isn't that at least pretentious?

3. Svendsen later found out (from James White, I think) that Smyth's Grammar was for classical, not koine, NT Greek. This he thought to be a knockout punch and proof of my ignorance and arrogance, in trying to delve into matters of Greek, where I knew nothing.

4. I publicly apologized to him on the board at that time, for some of my words and attitudes, and for questioning his abilities in Greek.

5. On the other hand, I also pointed out that the whole incident reflected much more badly on him, since (despite claiming to be an expert on Greek) he had mocked this important, well-known, prominent scholar and hadn't even heard of him, and didn't know that his widely-used work (which is even available online now) was for classical Greek in the first place. He was supposed to know this stuff, whereas I (as a non-scholar) had simply made an innocent mistake. And I apologized, whereas he did not.

6. The most amusing thing in all this was that Eric's own research associate, Mike Taylor, was utilizing Smyth in some in-depth exegetical research he was doing concerning the Eucharist. So at the very same time I was being blasted as an ignoramus and pretender for merely citing Smyth, Eric's own comrade was citing him! When I pointed out the incongruity and irony of this to both of them, needless to say I didn't receive the warmest reception in world history.

Proof of Mike Taylor's heavy use of H.W. Smyth, whom he used to support his contentions, can be found in a densely-argued paper about the Eucharist and aspects of Greek grammar, entitled, "Sungenis and Taylor: An Exchange." I have compiled below Mike Taylor's citations of Smyth. Nowhere does he argue that Smyth is 1) unimportant as a Greek grammarian, or, 2) that he is absolutely irrelevant because his grammar is for classical rather than koine Greek.

It's true that he does mention the classical vs. koine Greek distinction, and the implications of that with regard to using Smyth as an authority on the New Testament, but nowhere does he imply that Smyth has no bearing on New Testament grammar at all (let alone that he is a "nobody"). If he believed that, then he would have simply refused to engage the argument (classical Greek being irrelevant to it). He even cites Smyth in support of the interpretation of NT passages (see #3 below). His comrade, Dr. Eric Svendsen, on the other hand, argued both points as proof of my gross incompetence as an apologist, since I had dared to cite Smyth in support of my exegesis of Luke 1:28 [Mike Taylor's words will be in blue]:

1) I tracked down one of those grammarians (Smyth) who says no such thing, . . .

2) I looked in Smyth to see if I could find any evidence for your "special case" and simply found no such thing. So if it turns out that you were wrong about Smyth (and you are) then would I be wrong to wonder if you might be wrong about the other grammarians?

3) . . . this really isn't the section of Smyth that is most relevant to the point in question. In the quote above, Smyth himself refers us to section 1872 (p. 419) wherein we read the following: 1872. "Participle (not in indirect discourse).--The participle, as a verbal adjective, is timeless. The tenses of the participle express only continuance, simple occurrence, and completion with permanent result. Whether the action expressed by the participle is antecedent, coincident, or subsequent to that of the leading verb (in any tense) depends on the context." The key words here are the following: "not in indirect discourse," (which would cover both Matthew 26:28 and Luke 22:19f); "in any tense" (which would cover the present indicative main verbs in both Matthew and Luke) and "depends on the context" . . .

4) Here is what Smyth says of the present participle in 1872a . . .

5) We’ve already seen Sungenis’ mishandling of Smyth. Why, then, should we simply take his word for it that Shanz is on his side?

6) But the rule you stated didn't register for me, so I got out Smyth (which was my textbook at Harvard) and Wallace (the current "Bible" of NT grammars) and did some reading.

7) With that in mind, I went back to Smyth a second time to see if I could find any evidence for such a distinction. So far, no luck. Then I went to Zerwick to see what he says.

8) Essentially, Wallace is saying that the time reference for participles is usually determined by the main verb. This accords with what I learned in Greek class and with what I have read in Smyth and Zerwick.

9) Rather than admit that his Smyth quote really does not support his claims, he instead attempts to play off Smyth against Zerwick.

10) I would respectfully suggest that Mr. Sungenis is in no position to judge between the Zerwick and Smyth.

11) Mr. Sungenis’ attempt to pit Smyth against Zerwick is misguided. Mr. Sungenis rightly notes that Smyth claims that participles not in indirect discourse are “timeless.” Unfortunately, Mr. Sungenis neglects to mention the following: “Whether the action expressed by the participle is
antecedent, coincident, or subsequent to that of the leading verb (in any tense) depends on the context” (Smyth: 1872, my emphasis). This is a crucial qualification. Would Zerwick disagree with Smyth on this point?

12) Right away, then, we see that a direct comparison of Smyth to Zerwick is invalid. Smyth’s grammar only deals with classical Greek, whereas Zerwick’s Biblical Greek concerns—you guessed it—Biblical Greek.

13) Second, in full agreement with Smyth, Zerwick states that the context shows the sense to be future.

14) Mr. Sungenis’ case is weakened somewhat by two factors: First, to the extent that he is basing his case on a Smyth, he weakens his case in that Smyth’s scope is classical Greek, not Koine. Second, the rules he had originally quoted from Smyth govern participles in indirect discourse, whereas the participles in question are in direct discourse.

15) There is therefore no fundamental disagreement here with Smyth, who in any case is dealing with classical Greek, not the Biblical Koine and its underlying Semitisms.

16) Does this not suggest that Sungenis was unaware of the fact that the present participle can be future no matter what the tense of the main verb (cf. Smyth 1872, p. 419)?

17) I went back to Smyth a second time to see if I could find any evidence for such a distinction.

Svendsen and I have never interacted in any substantive way since then. My calumnious detractor keeps bringing up this incident in order to "prove" something about me that is untrue. He never mentions, of course, my apology (because that would ruin the effectiveness of the slander; apart from showing that it is highly unethical), and he never gets into the gist of what occurred (because that would make Eric Svendsen look really bad, just as he did at the time). I've repeatedly urged him to drop it and decided not to post the argument at the time (as an act of charity), but since he won't let it drop, and keeps talking about this publicly, I must record the incident now, so it will be a matter of record.

It may seem a minor point, but when the incident is fully-explained, people can see what I was getting at, and that I was justified in my observation; it wasn't a case at all of trying to talk about something (on my own, without the aid of scholars) that I knew nothing about (Greek). If anything, Dr. Svendsen was the one who made statements he knew little or nothing about (about Smyth's credentials and importance).


Thursday, January 06, 2005

Latest James White Theme Song: "Fun Fun Fun"

Okay, folks; this is the last of this before moving on to other things. I just couldn't resist doing one more parody. The possibilities here were far too rich and -- given the latest absurdities and surreal charges being thrown about -- my great love of satire rendered me utterly unable to resist (the humor-challenged need not read any further; you have been forewarned!).

Fun Fun Fun
(Beach Boys, 1964)
(Brian Wilson/Mike Love)
See original lyrics

[written to/about Bishop James White]
Well he wrote his latest post
And he's cruisin' through the Cath-o-lic blogs now
Seems he forgot all about the contrary
Cuz he's stuck in a rut now
And with ad hominem blasting
Starts twistin' just as fast as he can now

And he'll have fun fun fun
Now that DA put his keyboard away
(Fun fun fun now that DA put his keyboard away)

Well the Catholics can't stand him
'Cause he writes books that build a straw man now
(distort papist grace now; distort papist grace)
He makes the independent Baptists go fight the Roman Catholic Church now
(he ran the good race now; he ran the good race)
A lotta guys try to argue
But he leads them on a wild goose chase now
(egg on your face now; egg on your face)

And we'll have fun fun fun
Now that DA put his keyboard away
(Fun fun fun now that DA put his keyboard away)

Well you knew it was wrong
And old DA's gotten wise to you now
(You shouldn't-a lied now you shouldn't-a lied)
But since he stopped his set of keys
You've been thinking that DA is all through now
(You shouldn't-a lied now you shouldn't-a lied)

But you can bring along your Chick*
'Cause you've got a lot of things to 'splain now
(You shouldn't-a lied now you shouldn't-a lied)

But we'll have fun fun fun now that DA put his keyboard away
(Dave'll run run run cuz the bishop exegeted away)
Fun fun fun now that DA put his keyboard away
(Dave'll run run run cuz the bishop exegeted away)

[repeat further, with Eric ("I didn't say that!") Svendsen doing the gleeful falsetto fade-out]
* = Jack Chick anti-Catholic "comic" tracts