Saint Thomas Aquinas

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Modernists and the "New Theologians" (Authors I Would Avoid)

Watch out for these guys (or gals) when reading or buying Catholic books these days. Although some of what some of these theologians or authors had to say may have been OK, they have or have had a predisposition to modernism or even outright heresy, and their overall influence in my opinion, as well as many others, has been a negative one on the Church. Unless you are a serious theologian (Like the Pope) who has the time and knowledge to sift through some of these author's or theologian's work, and dig out what may be worth noting, I would avoid reading them. It will cost you more time than it is worth, and for those who are not well educated in the Catholic faith, they may be dangerous to read. When buying books look to see if the book is endorsed by these authors, or if they are used and quoted as primary sources. This list is certainly not exhaustive and will continue to grow. I began linking websites that have info on these authors and theologians so you can check them out for yourself. I will keep the post at the top for awhile. If you have any to add, leave the name and a source if possible in the comments section, and I will research it and add it if it is warranted.
Updated 4-20-10 with more links and more authors!

Henri Boulliar
Yves Congar
Hans Kung
Richard Rohr
Raymond E. Brown
Ray Noll
 
William Bausch 
Gary Wills
Andrew Greeley
Teilhard de Chardin 

41 comments:

kellyjwilson said...

This is a diverse list. You note this to an extent, but also note that their "overall influence" has "been a negative one on the Church."

You caution individuals that unless they are serious theologians, who have time and ability to sift through these contents, a person would be better of without such texts.

I am going to assume that in order to make this list, you are a "serious theologian" who is comptetent to judge the works of these authors (that presupposes a familiarity with the basic works).

That's my assumption.

Question 1 is whether that assumption would be a correct one?

Question 2 regards how soon you will be able to discuss specifically why you have put certain characters on here. I presuppose your familiarity with their works, and look forward to a discussion of them.

Matthew Bellisario said...

You can go to the links I have provided and read about each for yourself. You can determine for yourself who want to read. These are my suggestions, nothing more. If you don't like it then that is fine, I could care less. I will have more links to come to offer more material for people to judge these authors and theologians for themselves. It is possible, based on your other comments you have made on my blog that many of these people are your heroes? Am I right to assume that?

kellyjwilson said...

Heroes? No, none are.

Are there some I admire? Who do you have in mind?

Are there some that I agree would generally be a waste of time to read? Yeah.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I have none in mind, for I admire none of them.

kellyjwilson said...

But you are implying that some might be my heroes.

I have identified that none are, but that wouldn't really mean anything because I don't really think of others in this way.

You suggest that based on my comments some might be heroes, well let's suppose I admire the work of some. Why don't you come right out and ask "Do you support the writings of ole Joan..?"

Otherwise let's drop the silliness and get back to the point.

Matthew Bellisario said...

What is the point? You don't like my list? So what? Go make your own list.

kellyjwilson said...

No, no, no its not a horrible list, and I appreciate the intention.

But you haven't confirmed my assumption (that you are qualified to interpret the works of all those you have placed on this list). Since I am assuming that you are qualfied, I have questions about several people you have put on it.

Are you comfortable answering?

Matthew Bellisario said...

As I said, go to the links provided and read about the individual that you want to read about. Then make your own determination if you want to spend your time reading a book by them or not.

I do not have the time to engage in a debate about each person on the list and why I put them on there. Most of the link sources make the reasons known. If you want to comment on why you think that the source I linked is not a good reason not to read or endorse them, then please comment, and if I have the time I will be glad to discuss it.

croixmom said...

Thank you for this list, Matthew. I really appreciate it.

As to kellyjwilson, I should think the consistent content of your blog should speak for itself.

Alexander said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kellyjwilson said...

Fair enough. If you don`t have time, you don`t have time.

Most of them I am familiar with, and would probably agree with you that there views should not be read if there is the danger that they be misperceived as mainstream Catholicism. However, you have a few strange choices, and while I understand the rationale, I don`t believe it`s justified. Hence my inquiry, but as you said, time is limitted, so I understand.

kellyjwilson said...

Sorry, just so we are clear, the strangeness of these few colour the whole of the list, even if you do manage to identify more than a few that genuinely I would share your warning about.

Further, I was being too kind. I don`t think your capable of conversing about what I am identifying as some of the strange choices...

Matthew Bellisario said...

Kelly, as I said, you can read about each of them on your own, and you can read from the link sources I provided. If you do not agree then that is fine. If you have something specific then feel free to mention exactly why you do not agree with my choice, and if I can I will address it.

Alexander said...

Kelly, can you mention the names added which you find odd?

kellyjwilson said...

de Lubac, Balthasar, Congar, and Raymond Brown.

(By the way, I am familiar with why such people might be on some lists, but I do not agree).

There are others that I wouldn`t put on, like Rahner or Dupuis, but I would share a certain caution about encouraging certain people to read them.

Now I don`t think MB would necessarily consider the four I identified as ``outright heretics.``

I think we should always be careful when reading, but I think the four I named, if read properly, enhance, rather than danger a person`s faith.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Karl Rahner is for the most part terrible, especially when it come to Our Lord in the Eucharist. He tried to invent new doctrine concerning Our Lord and transubstantiation. Read Fr, Hardon's work which addresses Rahner on this issue specifically.

"We get some idea of how deeply this error has penetrated Catholic thought, when we read what Karl Rahner writes about the Eucharistic consecration. Rahner therefore is the first of the two master teachers of profound error on the Real Presence."

Read more here.
http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Faith/Faith_006.htm

kellyjwilson said...

The real torture of Rahner is his prose...

teresa katherine said...

Hi,
I'm not sure when this blog started but I really love Karl Rahner many of his writings are Nihil Obstat sealed, and I for one could barely live without my Sacrementum Mundi that he edited. Both JP II and Benedict were close to many of these theologians and even published books with them. And many of them were very holy men Henri de Lubac, Hans urs von Balthasar, Teillhard de Chardin. Just as it took a long time for the church to accept that the earth went around the sun, it obviously cannot go diving into every novel idea even when presented by the wisest of souls. Visionaries almost always come before their time are often misunderstood and suffer for it. I think that any priest half worth his studies should be able to redirect errant thinking. Anyone who picks up these books is perhaps ready to read them. I would NEVER suggest avoiding these people they are guardians of REAL thinking. This is very important. The church needs people like this. We already know why abortion is wrong and why people should vote against Obama,and why priests shouldn't commit sins of lust and neither should anyone else, these debates are endless and stupid and any half wit can have them, Rahner and many of these men get down to the battle... the real battle between Good and evil which isn't constantly red herringed and watered down by side issues everyone likes and finds easy to talk about. Without men like these the church could be stagnant.
Mathew-Don't let your opinion influence the cites you put up and certainly READ PRIMARY SOURCES, PRAY about it, and for the sake of God don't use too much reason.

teresa katherine said...

Oh and how could you even put Elizabeth..what's her name on the same list as Rahner, but I will read what your Fr. Hardon has to say although I think I am skeptical and he is probably just not able to think as well as Rahner...

Matthew Bellisario said...

"I will read what your Fr. Hardon has to say although I think I am skeptical and he is probably just not able to think as well as Rahner..."

What do you know about Fr. Hardon? He was a far superior theologian than Rahner ever was, and anyone who tries to redefine Transubstantiation as Rahner did, is not a solid theologian. Before you can make assumptions about Fr. Hardon, why don't you look at what he wrote and actually refute his reasoning on Transfinalization, etc. It is pretty clear to me that Rahner was not a solid theologian. Anyone who would deny the Church's teaching on women's ordination is already on the outs and Rahner clearly did this. If Rahner is your hero, I feels sorry for you. Get on the Saint Thomas program and forget these modernists.

Alexander said...

Just out of curiosity, did Fr. Rahner ever were a Roman collar?

kellyjwilson said...

Matthew, at some point will you be entering into a discussion of these author`s primary texts?

I appreciate the fact that you have strong opinions about these matters, but like I insinuated earlier, I don't think you are familiar with these authors, and thus I question your ability to accurately assess the secondary sources you provide.

Pope Benedict himself would strongly disagree with your placement of a number of these authors on here. Do you recognize this or not?

(I'm not saying you have to agree with Pope Benedict, but why don't you be more upfront and suggest that by including some of these people, you would incur the theological disagreement of the Holy Father?).

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi Matt, as a general rule, I do not buy Catholic books (or any books) unless I find them at a Goodwill store or library sale so the cost issue is not an issue for me. As you say, one must take time and have the knowledge to discern what is wheat and is tares when it comes to the writings of any author, Catholic or otherwise.

Personally, while I have problems with the theology behind much Rahner's writings on the sacraments (probably because it is so esoteric that the an average Joe like myself can not possibly understand it in order to figure out if he is heretical or not), I have found his writings on contemplative prayer, devotional practices and Mary to be helpful.

As far as Rohr and Martos go, the books I have where they collaborated seem to be ok and Martos' Doorway to the Sacred is considered a standard read with respect to the sacraments. what about them beside Rohr's questionable methodology to evangelize to homosexual men concerns you about their writings?

I would like to add several Catholic writers whose writings I would be wary of: Gary Willis, Fr. Andrew Greeley and Fr. Teilhard de Chardin. While de Chardin's writings are often beautiful and thought-provoking, his underlying pluralism greatly damages his works. Willis is a Catholic in name only and his writings are pure poison. I buy his stuff at Goodwill just so I can throw it away so others will not buy his books by accident and have their faith damaged. Fr. Greeley's blind loyalty to all things democratic party and his unhealthy fixation on sex in his novels regularly puts him at odds with the Church .

God bless!

Matthew Bellisario said...

Kelly, "Pope Benedict himself would strongly disagree with your placement of a number of these authors on here. Do you recognize this or not?"

I believe I addressed this point before when I said, "Unless you are a serious theologian (Like the Pope) who has the time and knowledge to sift through some of these author's or theologian's work, and dig out what may be worth noting, I would avoid reading them."

I also wrote the following in my post on Karl Rahner, "Although some of his work may be worth reading, and some theologians like Pope Benedict XVI see some value in some of his theological opinions..."

So I have already pointed out that the Pope has made reference to some of these authors works like Rahner. I also made it clear that not everything these authors wrote was bad when I said the following in the opening post, "Although some of what some of these theologians or authors had to say may have been OK, they have or have had a predisposition to modernism or even outright heresy, and their overall influence in my opinion, as well as many others, has been a negative one on the Church."

I never said not to read some of these authors because all of their writings were bad did I? I tried to make that point clear. I guess I did not make my point strong enough. The problem with most of the big name theologians on the list was their modernist philosophical tendencies which have little or no value in Catholic theology. So you can bring forth a writing by Rahner that I am sure is OK, yet we can see very clearly that he himself admits applying these modernist philosophies to his theology, which ended up ultimately corrupting some of his theological opinions. Rahner admits to trying to overthrow 2000 years of Eucharistic theology and he admits that he was not convinced by the Church's ability to teach definitively on women's ordination, etc. So I personally do not give him room in my theological readings.

Finally, my post was a personal suggestion as to authors I would avoid. You are free to disagree with me. I am a Thomist and I believe that unless one is well grounded in the basics, one can be mislead quite easily. I have witnessed first hand what the majority of people are like who follow the authors on the list with any regularity. Most of them fall into some error regarding Church teaching.

I think that the people who read my blog realize that I am a Catholic that goes by the traditional teaching of the Church (Western Church) which has been grounded in Thomism for the last 700 or so years. I attend the Eastern Churches and the Latin Mass regularly, so most of my readers know where I am coming from.

I believe that these modernist tendencies are the reason that we have the theological and spiritual destruction that we have in the Church today. It is the reason why the Novus Ordo has largely been a failure in bringing reverence to Our Lord in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. I believe the best way to combat this problem in the Western church is to return to strict Thomistic principles and abandon the modernist principles that were largely laid down by people who are on the list. A small error in the beginning ends up being a large error later on down the road when you find yourself on the wrong side of the map.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Hi Paul, thanks for the thoughts. I will add those people to the list! As far as Martos goes, although "Doors to the Sacred" has a ton of historical documentation, his theological conclusions are really off. Do you notice how all of the emphasis in the book ends up focusing on the community aspect of the Sacraments on not on the grace that God provides through them? In my opinion he is a cookie cutter clone of all the rest of the "new theologians" who in a sneaky way cut God right out of the Sacraments, without explicitly saying it. In other words, if you emphasize one lesser aspect of the Sacraments long enough and de-emphasize the greater aspects long enough, you can overthrow the traditional Catholic teaching much easier than countering it in an explicit and up front manner.

As far as Rahner goes, his head was too big for the Church. He was not content to accept Church teaching on theological positions such as the Eucharist. Instead he thought he was so brilliant that he could invent a "new theology" which redefined transubstantiation into transignification. You mentioned that he was problematic in his Sacramental theology. This is the big problem in the Church today, isn't it? The Real Presence of Our Lord has ultimately been substituted for a lesser belief, resulting in the desacralization of the Eucharist. When one cannot get the basics down in Sacramental theology, I would personally avoid them altogether. There are so many good theologians to read, why waste your time on guys like Rhaner?

Yes, I saw that you like his devotional writings, and I cannot say that I am familiar with those so I cannot comment on them. Thanks for coming over, it is good to hear from you Paul. You seem to have been in a hiatus on your blog. I just saw that you put up some new posts. I will have to check them out!

teresa katherine said...

Mathew-
Your Father Hardon is very certainly a spiritual man and from some of his writings I looked at last night a very strong and needed counterbalance to the ideas of men like Rahner.
I also read over the transubastantiation section in the theological encyclopaedia(Sacramentum Mundi), the section on it in the catechism, what Hardon says, and The 7 Secrets of the Eucharist.
It seems to me that the Sacramentum Mundi describes more a path which the understanding of the Eucharist has undergone, iT does not make any hard and fast pronouncements like the Catechism, because it is not the Catechism. But the Catechism specifies:
"The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist."
The mystery of the Eucharist is very difficult to describe in words, in the Rahner edited enc. the presence of Christ in the Eucharist is specified! This is probably why it managed to obtain the Nihil Obstat . I understand the horror that one might feel when someone even remotely tries/insinuates to say that the Eucharist is not fully the substance of Jesus Christ. But all these words, substance, presence,species, symbol, etc... can be defined in many different ways. It is a problem that can only be conquered by
Faith.
I didn't know that Rahner supported the ordination of women. But i would like to read what he has to say about it. Although i doubt I could be convinced as to the rightness of this by rahner or anyone.... who would ever want Mary our Mother to be our Father!? I would be surprised and disappointed to find that he endorsed this.
But after all we are all only human. And Padre Pio says, "All human ideas, no matter from where they come , have their good and bad points; one must assimilate all the good in them and offer them to God, and eliminate the bad."
Also by the way, Rahner and many of his "modernist" contemporaries, as you say, is said, were really horrified at some of the changes that took place during the council. They tried to stop them! when they realized what was going on but the ball was already rolling. Ratzinger and some of these men advocate a return to the original sources and a reinterpretation of Aquinas and want to meet the challenges of our time by opening a dialogue with thinkers of our time with particular attention to problems associated with the Enlightenment, modernity and liberalism.( From In the Beginning...A Catholic Understanding of the story of Creation and the Fall by Benedict XVI) Balthasar, de Lubac, Congar and others are all mentioned.
But i get that this is not for anyone, I guess. I for one love the simple man, common sense, the simple way of life and wish daily I didn't have an overarching tendency to think of these things and more common sense and simple love of God.
Cheers and Blessings

kellyjwilson said...

Here`s your problem Matthew: You suggest that their overall influence has been a negative one for the Church.

In contrast someone like Pope Benedict esentially says that Raymond Brown is the standard upon which exegetes should base their methodology.

So you can`t get out of the hole you`ve dug by suggesting that Ratzinger has the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood in someone like Brown`s writings.
Ratzinger is saying that Brown is a pretty good standard. You`re not saying this. So who should I believe?

Obviously we know the answer.

Matthew Bellisario said...

"Pope Benedict esentially says that Raymond Brown is the standard upon which exegetes should base their methodology."

What quote are you using to arrive at this conclusion. What book or writing, and when? Thanks

Matthew Bellisario said...

Kelly, I have read a lot of Pope Benedict's writings and I find him being quite critical of the exclusivity of the historical critical method Brown was such a proponent of. Also, remember that Brown started off being a very good Scripture scholar, and later went off the rails. So you need to understand these types of things. For example the then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in the Ratzinger Report page 76 the following,

"The rule of faith, yesterday as today, is not based on the discoveries (be they true or hypothetical) of biblical sources and layers but on the Bible just as it is, as it has been read in the Church since the time of the Fathers until now. It is precisely the fidelity to this reading of the Bible that has given us the saints, who were often uneducated and, at any rate, frequently knew nothing about exegetical contexts. Yet they were the ones who understood it best."

Where and when did Pope Benedict XVI say the Raymond Brown is the best exegete of Sacred Scripture? Writing and page number please. I have most of his books so I am sure I can find it and read his comments in context. Thanks.

kellyjwilson said...

I believe the quote was made in the context of a speech, and is found in Origins (February, 1988), and is also referred to secondarily in a tritue to Brown written by Mahoney, but perhaps Bauckham.

Brown later went off the rails? Obviously your won't be able to justify that claim, so perhaps it's not fair of me to demand an example.

A good text for the Church's expectation regarding the interpretation of the Bible is the 1993 PBC's "On the INterpretation fo the Bible in the Church."

They discuss different hermeneutical approaches and note the "indispensible" method that is the historical-critical method, when it comes to the scientific study of ancient texts. Now the reason Brown is so good at what he does, is because he has an air of objectivity. He does not say more than the method of his study allows him to say.

Each method has limitation and as a result there is always moer that can be said, but you have to pick a method and consistently apply it.

Brown was always clear that even if he chosen method of study did not allow him to speak definitively on certain matters, there were more important things than method, and as a result, such matters were still worth commenting on. He just had the wisdom not to impose them on his method.

So again, whose opinion to expect me to value more. Yours? Or Pope Benedict who would absolutely reject you're attribution that this man had a negative influence on the Church?

Paul Hoffer said...

For all concerned:

Here is why I suggested that Fr. de Chardin be put in the list of authors to be avoided even though I found some of his writing to be beautiful and thought-provoking:

WARNING REGARDING THE WRITINGS OF FATHER TEILHARD DE CHARDIN
Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office

On June 30, 1962, the Holy Office issued a monitum (warning) regarding the writings of Father Teilhard de Chardin. In 1981 the Holy See
reiterated this warning against rumors that it no longer
applied. Following is the text of both the monitum and the 1981
statement:

Admonition

"Several works of Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, some of which were posthumously published, are being edited and are gaining a good deal of success.

"Prescinding from a judgement about those points that concern the
positive sciences, it is sufficiently clear that the above-mentioned works abound in such ambiguities and indeed even serious errors, as to offend Catholic doctrine.

"For this reason, the most eminent and most revered Fathers of the
Holy Office exhort all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of
Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of
universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers.

"Given at Rome, from the palace of the Holy Office, on the thirtieth
day of June, 1962.

Mr. Wilson in regards to Fr. Brown's material. I believe you missed the point of Mr. Bellisario placing him on list which is to warn folks that his application of the historical-critical method appears to be predisposed to modernism and could lead someone other than a serious theologian into error. From what I have come across, he denies the verity of the infancy narratives in Matt. and Luke. His Christology is abysmal:

Brown:

The New Testament gives us no reason to think that Jesus and Paul were not deadly serious about the demonic world.... I do not believe the demons inhabit desert places or the upper air, as Jesus and Paul thought... I see no way to get around the difficulty except by saying that Jesus and Paul were wrong on this point. They accepted the beliefs of their times about demons, but those beliefs were superstitious. (Brown, Raymond. St. Anthony's Messenger, May 1971, 47-48.)

We cannot assume that Jesus shared our own sophistication on some of these questions [on afterlife]. If Jesus speaks of heaven above the clouds . . . how can we be sure that he knew it was not above the clouds? (Brown, Raymond. Jesus, God and Man, Macmillan, 1967, p. 56.)

His book, "The Virginal Conception & Bodily Resurrection of Jesus" CBR) concludes that the Gospels “are not simply factual reporting of what happened in Jesus’ ministry but are documents of faith written to show the significance of those events as seen with hindsight.” Furthermore, in that book, he suggests that Mary's bodily virginity is something that can not be proven from the Scriptures.

The point is that someone who does not have the proper background and discernment to truly understand the writings of Brown which embody the methodology of someone like Bultmann would be far better off reading Fr. Hardon, Canon Ripley, Pope Benedict XVI, Henri Daniel-Rops, Fr. Most, St. Francis de Sales or Newman to obtain a better grounding in the Faith before tackling the writings of someone whose writings could be understood to be contrary to it.

God bless!

kellyjwilson said...

Paul, thank you for the thoughts. You raise a number of specific examples, which are important topics, so by not responding I don`t want to give the indication that they don`t matter.

I really do understand what Matthew is arguing, but what I am saying is that Benedict positively assesses Brown`s work, while Matthew cannot. The regular Catholic knows who to believe.

I am going to do some speculation, but here is what I think the whole question boils down to.

Matthew, I suspect, feels left behind by the Church, and wishes that instead of someone like Brown being the standard for Catholic exegetes, the early 20th century responses of the PBC should be instead.

We all have our preferences, but I am attempting to illusrate a disconnect between the Holy Father, and Matthew. And I am not sure why Matthew doesn`t admit it. I`m not saying he can`t disagree, but when challenged he should at least admit that yes he disagrees with Pope Benedict`s analysis.

Matthew Bellisario said...

"but I am attempting to illusrate a disconnect between the Holy Father, and Matthew. And I am not sure why Matthew doesn`t admit it"

Kelly, I asked for specific works of Pope Benedict XVI where he has said the Brown is the Scripture theologian par excellence. Do you have the sources?

kellyjwilson said...

I provided some general information about the sources above.

-Origins, February, 1988
(Do you have access to that)

-they come as a secondary text, in a tribute to Raymond Brown written by John Mahoney

Paul Hoffer said...

Mr. Wilson, Thank you for interacting with my comments. As far what Mr. Bellisario's "feelings" are, I do not think that they are relevant to the discussion. More to the point, I think that you are missing the mark in claiming that there is a "disconnect" or disagreement between Pope Benedict and Matthew on the subject of Fr. Brown's application of historical-critical method in biblical exegesis. I am aware that Pope Benedict XVI has complimented Fr. Brown's efforts in advancing Catholic biblical scholarship, but I have never seen where the Pope unabashingly endorsed everything Brown has written. Moreover, I do not see how anyone could suggest that given what Pope Benedict wrote at the beginning of his book "Jesus of Nazareth" when he critiqued the shortcomings of the historical-critical method of exegesis itself.

Of course, I have not read everything the 266th Vicar of Christ has written either since he assumed the papacy or from before, so I could be mistaken. Can you can share with us what Pope Benedict says that constitutes an open endorsement of Fr. Brown's works? You cited to "Origins." All I could find of the partiuclar article is a partial quote that then-Cardinal Ratzinger said that he "would be very happy if we had many exegetes like Father Brown." Without more, that does not suggest that he necessarily agreed with everything Brown wrote. do you have more?

God bless!

kellyjwilson said...

Hi Paul, every approach as a scientific tool has its shortcomings. [The pros and cons of various hermeneutical approaches are identified in the 1993 PBC document on the Interpretation of the Scriptures].

Having said, this should lead us to agree with Brown's own conclusions, which are something to the effect of what my particularly chosen scientific method cannot ascertain with absolute certainty, the living tradition of my Church can.

Hence, he uses the historical-critical method correctly, not allowing it to say more than it should. In doing a number of abuses are prevented. He recognizes that there are spheres of authority outside of his own scientific method. If only others would do the same.

In any event, I was suprised at the cricicism of Brown, since he really is a remarkably good bible scholar. I have noted the arguments that are being offered on other blogs by self-styled apologists for Catholicism, and as a result, I am going to look into this matter in a lot more detail.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Kelly wrote in reference to Brown "Hence, he uses the historical-critical method correctly, not allowing it to say more than it should."

I and others would say that Brown went overboard on his use of the historical critical method, otherwise he would never write the things Paul Hoffer pointed out like, "I do not believe the demons inhabit desert places or the upper air, as Jesus and Paul thought... I see no way to get around the difficulty except by saying that Jesus and Paul were wrong on this point. They accepted the beliefs of their times about demons, but those beliefs were superstitious."

Also, I looked for that particular source and I cannot seem to find it. Perhaps you can find a written work by the Pope himself that substantiates your claim rather than a supposed soundbite from a speech by the Pope which was compiled by another author. I would like to see the actual words that were made by the Pope in the supposed speech that he gave in which he elevated Brown to the status that you claim. So far I do not see any hard evidence that puts me at odds with Pope. Thanks

Paul Hoffer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Hoffer said...

I apologize for deleting my last comment-too many typos!

Hi Mr. Wilson, you wrote, "Hence, he uses the historical-critical method correctly, not allowing it to say more than it should. In doing a number of abuses are prevented. He recognizes that there are spheres of authority outside of his own scientific method. If only others would do the same."

My problem with your statement is that you have not yet substantiated the claim that he used the historical-critical method correctly. You may be correct in making this statement but I am pretending to be from Missouri today, so please "Show me" the basis for you making this claim. I would be happy to even see a link or two.

As far as my criticism of Fr. Brown goes, my reasoning is simple, he may have been a remarkably good bible scholar, but the Scriptures records that Satan was a pretty good one too. It is my perception that Fr. Brown engaged in such scholarship for scholarship's sake forgetting what the point of doing the scholarship was for. Dei Verbum teaches: (1) "[A]ttention must be devoted to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, (2) taking into account the Tradition of the Church, and (3) the analogy of faith, if we are to derive their true meaning from the sacred texts. It is the task of exegetes to work according to these rules." By the term "rules," the council fathers meant that the exegete could not interpret texts in a way that contradicts either established doctrines of the faith or interpretations of other passages of Scripture accepted by the Church.

The Pontifical Biblical Commission's "The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church" (which you reference) states that exegetes must be cognizant of the relationship of exegesis to theology (which I found not found to be the case with Fr. Brown's writings that I have read to date). Further, while the PBC document also describes the historical-critical method as an "indispensable method for the scientific study of the meaning of ancient texts" it also states that, "the historical-critical method cannot lay claim to enjoying a monopoly.... It must be conscious of its limits, as well as to the dangers to which it is exposed." To which I will add: because this method is not the method that has been used by the Church for 2000 years in interpreting the texts which constitute the Living Word of God.

Fr. Brown's methodology may be liken to those scientists who acknowledge that there are ethical limits to research and then go ahead and try to clone a human being anyway for the heck of it-emphasis on the heck.

Now unlike many folks that do apologetics, I am more than happy to be shown wrong and correct my understanding to conform to that of the Church, but I am a bit skeptical that you can do so on this occasion.

God bless!

kellyjwilson said...

Ok. Some important issues raised here, and I will look into them further.

Don Paco said...

This list looks like the population of one of hell's rings in Dante's Inferno.