Sometimes, I look at what CMI cite as input, then do NOT look at what they answer, copy only the input, and then comment on it myself. So today.
- Thomas Huxley was quoted
- “I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures… if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero … the Story of the Deluge a fiction; that of the Fall a legend; and that of the Creation the dream of a seer; if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome—what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated: And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who … have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?”
- And attributed
- Huxley, T., Science and Hebrew Tradition, Appleton and Company, New York, p. 207, 1897.
- A Blogger was quoted
- “The writings of the bible were put down on paper by (mostly) old men who acted out of complete ignorance (for example the world was created in 7 days and is about 6,000 years old). We now know that that is COMPLETE nonsense so why should anyone have to abide by this rubbish?”
- And attributed
- A reader’s comment on: Phillips, M., Pinch yourself! A Tory Prime Minister is upholding the idea that traditional morality is bigotry, dailymail.co.uk, 14 February 2011.
[Their policy of not linking to blogs makes this attribution less clear.]
- Christianity stands or falls on the historical accuracy of Genesis1
by Dominic Statham
Now, I'll answer the blogger first:
Disagreeing with your world view is not ignorance.
Within your world view, you can argue that such a dinosaur being 100 million years old and such another one being 200 million years old is a matter of fact - as per the facthood you attribute to your scientists.
If you say a Ceratopsian is 300 million years old, you are contradicting what you presume to be known fact, namely Ceratopsians being from the latest chunk of Mesozoic, the Cretaceous, while 300 million years ago is hardly even Mesozoic, probably Palaeozoic.
But when it comes to a dinosaur being 100 million years old, or from the Flood, we are dealing with opinion, namely opinion or belief or conviction or rational conclusion on which of two systems for dating Ceratopsians is better : using Genesis chapters 6 to 8 as a clue or using chronostratigraphy as a clue. Or on which authority is better, using Bible as inerrant or using scientists as "best we have", and nothing contradicting their (from your p o v) presumed consensus can be backed up by anything else (including Bible or especially Bible) to YOUR satisfaction.
Now, Huxley tried to make a more detailed case and I will go to his characteristics one by one.
- “I am fairly at a loss to comprehend how anyone, for a moment, can doubt that Christian theology must stand or fall with the historical trustworthiness of the Jewish Scriptures…
- Very correct.
- if Abraham is more or less a mythical hero …
- I don't know what you mean exactly by mythical, I don't think you know it yourself.
If you mean "non-historic" that does in a way follow, but the problem is that "mythical heroes" are much more likely to be historic than "mythical [Pagan] gods".
- the Story of the Deluge a fiction;
- If it were a fiction, it is very noteworthy that people not in a position to plagiarise it from a common original (whether Bible or Babel) have nevertheless plagiarised it across the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Ural Mountains.
I do not think it is fiction for a moment.
- that of the Fall a legend;
- Sound like you accepted the Protestant view of how trustworthy legends are.
Calvin didn't like how Catholics venerated relics of the Holy Cross, so he attacked the Legend of St Helen and the Finding of the Cross.
Calvin didn't like how Catholics considered devoutly Papist saints holier and more trustworthy than he, so he attacked legends about them making miracles.
In the process, he redefined - for Protestants - the content of the word "legend".
To a Catholic "legenda" simply is the Latin for "shall be read" or "things that shall be read". And the legend of the Finding of the Cross shall indeed be read in Matins of May 3, along with other legenda:
Hierosolymis Inventio sacrosanctae Crucis Dominicae, sub Constantino Imperatore. In Jerusalem, Finding of the Most Holy Cross, under Emperor Constantine. Romae, via Nomentana, passio sanctorum Martyrum Alexandri Papae Primi, Eventii et Theoduli Presbyterorum. Ex his Alexander, sub Hadriano Principe et Aureliano Judice, post vincula, carceres, equuleum, ungulas et ignes, punctis creberrimis per tota membra confossus ac peremptus est; Eventius vero et Theodulus, post longos carceres, ignibus examinati, ad ultimum decollati sunt. In Rome, on Via Nomentana, passion of holy martyrs Pope Alexander I, and the Priests Eventius and Theodule. Of these, Alexander, under Hadrian as Prince and Aurelian as Judge, after chains, gaols, easel, nails (pulled out?) and fire, most tight stings, was buried by all members and killed; but Eventius and Theodule, after long gaoling, tortured by fire, were at last beheaded. Narniae sancti Juvenalis, Episcopi et Confessoris. In Narnia, sorry, in Narni, Saint Juvenal, Bishop and Confessor. Apud montem Senarium, in Etruria, natalis sanctorum Sostenaei et Uguccionis Confessorum, e septem Fundatoribus Ordinis Servorum beatae Mariae Virginis; qui, caelitus admoniti, eadem die et hora, salutationem Angelicam recitantes, e vita migrarunt. Ipsorum autem ac Sociorum festum pridie Idus Februarii celebratur. At Monte Senario, in Tuscany, birthday of holy confessors Sosteneo and Uguccione, of the seven Founding Fathers of the Order of the Servants of the Blessed Virgin Mary; who, following adminishment from heaven, at the same day and hour, reciting the salute of the Angel, migrated from life. But their and their companions' feast is celebrated on February 12. Constantinopoli sanctorum Martyrum Alexandri militis, et Antoninae Virginis. Haec, in persecutione Maximiani, sub Praeside Festo, ad lupanar damnata, et ab Alexandro, qui pro ipsa ibi remanserat, mutatis vestibus clam educta, cum eo postmodum jussa est torqueri; et ambo simul in ignem, praecisis manibus, pro Christo sunt injecti, atque ita, egregio peracto certamine, coronantur. In Constantinople of holy martyrs the Knight/Soldier Alexander and the Virgin Antonina. She, in the persecution of Maximian, under the praeses Festus, condemned to the brothel, and after changing clothes brought out from there in secret by Alexander who had remained there for her, was afterwards ordered to be tortured with him, and both were at the same time cast into the fire, with hands cut off, and so, after going through an outstanding competition, were crowned. In Thebaide sanctorum Martyrum Timothei et Maurae conjugis, quos Arianus Praefectus, post multa tormenta, cruci jussit affigi; in qua, per novem dies cum vivi pependissent ac se ipsos in fide roborassent, martyrium consummarunt. In the Thebaid, holy martyrs Timotheus and his wife Maura, whom Arian the prefect (or whom the prefect who was an Arian), after many torments ordered to be fastened to a cross, on which, after having hung alive for nine days and strengthened each other in faith, they consumed their martyrdom. Aphrodisiae, in Caria, sanctorum Martyrum Diodori et Rhodopiani, qui, in persecutione Diocletiani Imperatoris, a civibus suis lapidati sunt. In Aphrodisia, in Caria, of holy martyrs Diodore and Rhodopian, who, in the persecution of Diocletian the Emperor, were stoned by their own (fellow) citizens. Et alibi aliorum plurimorum sanctorum Martyrum et Confessorum, atque sanctarum Virginum. R. Deo gratias. And elsewhere of many other holy Martyrs and Confessors, and of (many other) Holy Virgins. R. Thanks be to God.
And the legend of St Francis of Assisi is similarily read on the Matins of October 4th.
In this clearcut sense, the Fall IS a legend, because it SHALL be read, namely each Easter Vigil. Before you come to Flood, Exodus, other passages, Epistle and one of the Gospels for the Resurrection of Christ.
The Protestant use of the word "legend" is shilly-shallying. To one it means anything next to "total lie" and to another it means "nearly history, just not so well documented".
Those who use the words like this obviously thinks the above legends for Finding of the Cross and so on are not good documentation for these things actually happening.
Apparently, the extremely corrupt Roman Catholic Church, as per some Jack Chick tract, spent centuries without reading a word in the Bible, then someone panicked and said "why don't we get sth to read?" and then they started a committee to write all this, for each day of the year, just for fun.
Needless to say, the hypothesis for Jack Chick's view of Catholic legend is less well dated and placed (between which years they didn't read the Bible and when and where someone panicked) than the legends within the Roman Martyrology.
So, though I see no problem in calling the Fall, technically "a legend", it depends on what you mean, and it obviously does NOT mean fiction. It does not even mean "not historic".
- and that of the Creation the dream of a seer;
- The days preceding creation of Adam, thus up to beginning of day Six, obviously had no human witness, either Adam or Moses or both of them received this information in a vision.
Which is less problematic if you are, as I, a Catholic, and respect the visions of St Bridget or of Blessed Anna Katherina Emmerich.
Obviously, Huxley had the Protestant view of visions, at least of visions after the Bible was written, and Huxley, not quite unintelligibly, extended this view to the Biblical or Biblically implied (like this) visions as well.
- if all these definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events
- Yes, that is a point.
Do definite and detailed narratives of apparently real events spring up from nothing, just like that?
To a Protestant it would seem so, since they will not admit that St Francis cured lepers. And yet we have very definite and detailed narratives about that as an apparently real and recurring event in his life.
To a Catholic, it is obvious he is making an argument "ad homines" and that those men are Protestants. He was only too steeped into Protestant culture himself to notice that and he took his own p o v as a universal truth - accepted by everyone except backward Catholics and other Young Earth Creationists. (Yes, back then the Catholic Church was rather solidly, though not totally, Young Earth Creationist).
- have no more value as history than have the stories of the regal period of Rome
- Apparently he did not give any credence to the stories in Livy.
Perhaps "pour cause". Perhaps he lived in a Protestant culture to which these were obviously "legendary" (in the loose sense of the word), meaning, a polite word for "false".
What happened in Rome before the Republic had to be entirely rewritten by men who "had the good sense" not to trust Livy.
And with this attitude, why stop at the Bible?
Even a Protestant would have to admit, that Bible authors included material which a 19th C. historian would have rejected as spurious.
And there are two alternative logical conclusions to be drawn from that. Either Bible authors were wrong or 19th C. historians were, at least on that point.
For me it is the 19th C. historians who go.
- —what is to be said about the Messianic doctrine, which is so much less clearly enunciated:
- Namely in the prophecies of the Old Testament.
Correct. And one of the clearest is obviously also from one of the "legends", the "legend" of the Fall. Genesis 3:15. On top of that, one can be suspicious about that passage with more Protestant Anti-Catholic prejudice than Christianity - aren't those Papists using it to prop up their Mariolatrous superstitions?
- And what about the authority of the writers of the books of the New Testament, who … have not merely accepted flimsy fictions for solid truths, but have built the very foundations of Christian dogma upon legendary quicksands?
- If the 19th C attitude to proving history were right, then his view of the Old Testament stories would also be right, and his assessment of the New Testament authors would be rather fair too.
Now, after completing this article, I'll go off and see how Dominic Statham answered.
Hans Georg Lundahl
Octave of All Saints
PS: Perhaps I shouldn't have. He said:
The church must return to “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
When St Jude says it was once for all delivered to the saints, he is not saying the saints must return to it. He is saying the saints can never have lost it. You can't return to something you never left. Cfr. Matthew 28:20./HGL
PPS: Re-viewing the page, I find comments have been made.
- Geoff W., Australia, 8 November 2016
- Judaism stands or falls on Genesis. Christianity stands or falls on Jesus. ;-)
- Dominic Statham responds
- The problem with this argument is that the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands or falls on the truth of Judaism. As Jesus said, "salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22). [etc.]
Rather the Gospel of Jesus Christ stands or falls on the truth of the Old Testament religion. That is another religion than Christ rejecting, either Talmudic or Karaite or Chassidic Judaism.
I have explained the difference here:
Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Is Hinduism Older than Judaism and Christianity?