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Reflections: Scripture (History)

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History / Holy Scripture



History / Holy Scripture

"The Bible has had more influence in human affairs than any other work ever written" (Lafarge)

"After God had granted the gift of inspiration to the sacred writers, He entrusted the Bible to the Church, which His only begotten Son founded, for its safekeeping and authentic interpretation." (Pope Pius XI, "Ad Salutem", 1930)

"Matthew wrote in Judea in the time of the Emperor Caius Caligula; Mark in Italy, at Rome, in the time of Nero or Claudius, according to Rabanus; Luke in the parts of Achaia and Baeotia, at the request of Theophilus; John at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, under Nerva." (Remigius)

"[Question:] Whether it ought to be affirmed that the Gospel of Luke preceded the book of the Acts of the Apostles; and although this book, with same author Luke [Acts 1:1 f.], was finished before the end of the Apostle's Roman captivity [Acts 28:30 f.], his Gospel was not composed after this time? - Reply: In the affirmative." (Reply of the Biblical Commission, June 26, 1912 A.D.)

"But such a great light of religion shone on the minds of those who heard Peter, that they were not satisfied to hear only once, nor with the unwritten teaching of the divine proclamation; but with every possible plea the besought Mark, whose Gospel is extant, since he was Peter's follower, to leave behind also a written statement of the teaching which had been given to them orally. Nor did they leave off before they had persuaded the man; and in this way they became the cause of the Scripture called the Gospel according to Mark.. But knowing, through a revelation made to him by the Spirit, what had been done, it is said that the Apostle was pleased with the zeal of the man, and ratified the Scripture in the Churches." (History of the Church, circa 300-325 A.D.)

"Before the Albigensians, the Church had happily translated the Bible into every vernacular tongue. But now the Church saw the authority of the Bible abused by cult leaders who preyed on the ignorance, or the latent extremism, of the people. In 1129, at the Council of Narbonne, in direct response to the abuses of the Albigensians and related heresies, the Bible was forbidden to all save priests, bishops, and others in religious vocations. The people would hear the Bible in church. But mad-eyed fanatics would not be allowed to wave the Bible above their heads and claim some new revelation, some special reading - to common people who were mostly illiterate - that denied the Trinity or endorsed fornication, abortion, and suicide as positive deeds." (Crocker) 

"...the Church defined its doctrine by tradition, not sola scriptura (by Scripture alone) - to adopt the rallying cry of a controversy that would rend the Church a millennium and a half later. When Apostles like Paul - whose letters pre-date the written Gospels - refer to Scripture, they refer to what Christians now call the Old Testament. The early tradition of the Church was oral rather than written, and the New Testament writings are, as Father Philip Hughes notes 'supplementary to the basic knowledge which they presuppose.' The Biblical canon of what was true, valuable, binding, and instructive took centuries to compile and assess. The Bible as we have it today assumed its general form by the end of the second century. The canon of St. Athanasius was agreed upon by the end of the fourth century and became the definitive, authoritative canon for the Western Church with Pope Innocent I's approval of it in 405. Eleven hundred years later, this Bible would itself be re-edited by Protestants [by their own authority] during the Reformation and made the foundation stone of [their] belief... it was tradition-minded [Catholic] clerics who sifted through he competing documents to establish the Biblical canon that would be unchallenged for more than a thousand years. (Crocker) 

"Since quill was first set to papyrus, men have always tried to change the contents of the Scriptures, whether they be the Sadducees, who rejected everything but the first five books of the Old Testament, or men like Luther, who rejected several more books of the Old Testament and nearly rejected a half-dozen New Testament books like Hebrews and James to boot. This is not news. Still, we have more copies of Scripture than all other ancient writings combined. Given the enormous numbers of languages and the vast breadth of geography over which these texts have been discovered, the miracle lies precisely in the fact that the various versions [of Catholic Scripture] match so closely. Indeed, no other ancient document can lay this claim, or even come close to laying this claim." (Klmyr.)

"The New Testament writings, however, are not the foundations of the Church, or even, in a manner of speaking, its operating manual. The Church precedes them. The New Testament consists of teaching tools about Jesus (the Gospels), a history (The Acts of the Apostles), letter of correction and instruction (such as Paul's epistles), and what some consider a symbolic condemnation of the Roman emperor Nero (Revelation), under whose persecution St. Peter and St. Paul were martyred. The New Testament was assembled to serve a Church already functioning and growing. Papias, the bishop of Hierapolis in the early second century, records that 'Matthew compiled the Sayings in the Aramaic language, and everyone translated them as well as he could.' The original gospel tradition was oral... At the earliest, the first written gospels date two decades after the death of Jesus. They had the dual challenge of capturing an oral tradition and accurately translating it from Aramaic or Hebrew to Greek, which is the language of the earliest gospels we have. There was also the difficulty of establishing the canon. The Gospels according to Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John were not the only sayings of Jesus circulating among believers. There were numerous apocryphal books - some merely fictionalized devotional literature, some outright forgeries, others representing contesting views." (Crocker)

"Concerning the number of the Evangelists, it should be known, that there were many who had written Gospels, as the Evangelist Luke witnesses, saying, 'Forasmuch as many have taken in hand...' and as books remaining to the present time declare which many authors have set forth, therein laying the foundation of many heresies; such as the Gospel according to the Egyptians, according to Thomas, Matthias, and Bartholomew; that of the twelve Apostles, and Basilides, and Apelles, and others whom it would be long to reckon up. But the Church, which is founded by the Lord's word upon the rock, sending forth, like Paradise, its four streams, has four corners and four rings, by which as the ark of the covenant, and the guardian of the Law of the Lord it is carried about on moveable staves." (St. Jerome, Doctor of the Church)

"It is common knowledge that among all the Scriptures, even those of the New Testament, the Gospels have a special preeminence, and rightly so, for they are the principal witness for the life and teaching of the incarnate Word, our Savior. The Church has always and everywhere held and continues to hold that the four Gospels are of apostolic origin. For what the Apostles preached in fulfillment of the commission of Christ, afterwards they themselves and apostolic men, under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, handed on to us in writing: the foundation of faith, namely, the fourfold Gospel, according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1)." (Second Vatican Council)

Also See: Author of Holy Scripture | Authorship of Various Books of Scripture | Canon of Scripture | The Church Existed Before the Bible | Difficulties in Translating Scripture | Difficulty of Scripture | The Gospels Contain Only a Taste of Jesus' Teaching | Holy Scripture is Truthful / Free From Error | Importance of Scripture | Jesus / Holy Scripture | Misinterpretation of Scripture | Modernists / Scripture | Old / New Testament | Septuagint | St. Jerome / Holy Scripture | Those Who Reject Scripture | The Vulgate | Written / Oral Tradition | Non-Catholics Section (apologetics)

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