Times Religion Correspondent Can Barely Keep From Swearing

by Jimmy Akin

in Bible

RuthgledhillThe religion correspondent for the Time of London–Ruth "I’m Too Dangerously Unqualified To Keep My Job" Gledhill–has given vent to her spleen again in another tantrum disguised as a news story.

Be warned! She has an excessively large spleen!

That spleen is on display in previous thinly-disguised crypto-tantrums such as THIS and THIS, as well as in comments recorded HERE.

It’s no surprise, then, that Gledhill would try to gin up more controversy with a story such as her new one, which she or her editor eggregiously and INACCURATELY titled

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible

With a provocation like that, I’ve received links to the story from loads of folks looking for comment.

So let’s get to it.

As noted, here’s how the article beigns:

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible
By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

This implies that the Catholic Church has announced that it no longer "swears by" the truth of the Bible (whatever that means). In order for that to be true, there would have to be a statement from the Holy See announcing this. If there’s not then the headline is not only offensive it is also INACCURATE. In order for this to count as "news" the document would also have to be recent.

Is there such a document?

The first sentence of the article would lead you to believe that there is:

THE hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has published a teaching document instructing the faithful that some parts of the Bible are not actually true.


When did that happen?

I thought Pope Benedict was tied up with the Synod of Bishops at the moment discussing the liturgy. Did someone sneak in an ecumenical council while we weren’t looking? I mean, there’s only two ways that "the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church" can issue a document in the name of the whole, and that’s either through an action of the Vatican or through an ecumenical council, so it must have been one of those two things.

ANY religion reporter qualified enough to keep her job would know THAT!

So what’s the scoop on this new document?

The Catholic bishops of England, Wales and Scotland are warning their five million worshippers, as well as any others drawn to the study of scripture, that they should not expect “total accuracy” from the Bible.

Ooooooh! That’s completely different, then! It ain’t "the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church" but just the bishops of England, Wales, and Scotland that issued the document!

Gledhill must have been raised in a non-Euclidian universe where the fallacy of composition works, so that you can identify the part with the whole without fear of inaccuracy.

Things–including news reporting–must be so much simpler in Gledhill’s universe of origin, what without having to worry about that pesky part/whole distinction.

Over there the Vatican has probably not bothered calling any ecumenical councils gathering all of the world’s bishops to speak for the Church. They’ve just let the bishops of Great Britain issue all of the Church’s official statements. Maybe the pope is even based in non-Euclidian England!

“We should not expect to find in Scripture full scientific accuracy or complete historical precision,” they say in The Gift of Scripture.

Here the bishops have used an unfortunate phrase. It would be better if they had noted that Scripture frequently is not attempting to make assertions of a scientific nature and that the reader will arrive at scientifically inaccurate conclusions if he tries to press these statements into serving a purpose for which they were not intended, just as if you parsed a weatherman hyper-literally when he says "It’s raining cats and dogs!"

Something similar applies with the statement that Scripture does not provide "complete historical precision." It’s quite true that Scripture writes history according to a different set of rules than modern historians do and that it has a more approximative style of recording history. This needn’t trouble us as there’s different strokes for different folks. Mr. Spock may want times of arrival calculated down to the last nanosecond, but most of us make do with more approximative reckonings. In the universe from which Gledhill hails, they are apparently so approximative that they freely mix their parts with wholes.

For all I know, the bishops may have set their above-quoted remark in a context that makes the same kind of points that I just did. (I can’t check because the document isn’t online.) It may be that Gledhill has simply snipped out the "juciest" bits that she could use for supporting her triumphalistic "The Bible contains error! ERROR do you hear me!" theme.

She writes:

The document is timely, coming as it does amid the rise of the religious Right, in particular in the US.

Apparently the history of the non-Euclidian mirror universe is somewhat different than the history of the one in which we live. It would appear that where she’s from people were less religious in the past and are now becoming more religious instead of the other way around.

Gledhill also seems to have confirmed the idea that in the mirror universe the bishops of Great Britain speak for the whole Church, given her seeming expectation that members of "the religious Right, in particular in the US" would take seriously something written by churchmen on her fair, non-Euclidian Isle.

Some Christians want a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis, taught alongside Darwin’s theory of evolution in schools, believing “intelligent design” to be an equally plausible theory of how the world began.

Yet another instance in how the history of the Gledhill universe diverges from that of our world. Here in our world, there are THREE different scenarios for the origin of the world that different groups of people wish to see taught in schools: (1) "a literal interpretation of the story of creation, as told in Genesis," (2) "Darwin’s theory of evolution," and (3) "Intelligent Design."

Being from non-Euclidian England, Gledhill is unfamiliar with the distinction between (1) and (3) or the fact that people who support (3) being taught in schools do not necessarily support (1) being taught in them. In fact, people who support (3) may strongly disagree with those who support (1). They’re merely arguing that the universe contains SOME evidence of having been intelligently designed, without that being tied to any particular view of what the designer or the designers were like or whether the Genesis narrative is to be taken literally.

Note also Gledhill’s editorializing tone, dissing the idea that the idea the idea that the universe was intelligently designed is "an equally plausible theory" as the idea it was utterly random. Apparently, this is a settled matter in the mirror universe upon which newspaper reporters can pronounce with confidence.

But the first 11 chapters of Genesis, in which two different and at times conflicting stories of creation are told, are among those that this country’s Catholic bishops insist cannot be “historical”. At most, they say, they may contain “historical traces”.

Here Gledhill feels confident that, in her capacity as a reporter, she can tell us that Genesis 1 and 2 offer "at times conflicting stories." Apparently she has examined all the different harmonizations of the two accounts and, on her own authority as a biblical scholar, judged them wanting. How blessed the readers of the Times are to have such a surplus of scholarship in a single writer, who can not only report the news but also authoritatively pronounce her own scholarly judgments on biblical texts as well!

So masterful is Gledhill in handling texts that she is able to summarize a complex and easy-to-get-wrong point while giving the reader only three words ("historical," "historical traces") from the source document without her readers worrying that she may be mischaracterizing what the document says.

It’s unfortunate that she didn’t choose to tell her readers what the bishops meant by "historical." Clearly the early Genesis narratives are not written according to the conventions of our contemporary historical writing, so they’re not "historical" writings in the modern sense.

It’s also not really news that these narratives contain "historical traces" since the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a
primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of
man" (CCC 390). Presumably the other early narratives also reflect primeval events recounted in a way using figurative language.

One can’t help wondering, though, whether Gledhill has accurately summarized what the bishops wrote or whether her non-Euclidian background may be affecting matters.

The document shows how far the Catholic Church has come since the 17th century, when Galileo was condemned as a heretic for flouting a near-universal belief in the divine inspiration of the Bible by advocating the Copernican view of the solar system.

Yet another instance in which the history of the mirror universe is apparently different from our own. In our universe, Galileo was not "condemned as a heretic." He was condemned as suspect of heresy, which is not the same thing.

The Bible is true in passages relating to human salvation, they say, but continue: “We should not expect total accuracy from the Bible in other, secular matters.”

Here again the bishops have phrased themselves in an unfortunate manner. The Vatican II decree Dei Verbum teaches that the "everything asserted by the inspired authors or sacred writers must be held to be asserted by the Holy Spirit" and that this entails Scripture’s inerrancy. It may be true that Scripture is principally concerned with our salvation rather than "other, secular matters," and that it therefore contains more assertions on the subject of salvation than on other matters.

But it is misleading to suggest that statements of Scripture that are NOT assertions (properly so-called) are inaccurate. It would be better to say that, since they are not assertions, they are not to be taken literally and that to do so could result in error. The problem is not with what Scripture says, but with one trying to apply it to a purpose that God and the sacred authors did not intend.

They go on to condemn fundamentalism for its “intransigent intolerance” and to warn of “significant dangers” involved in a fundamentalist approach.

“Such an approach is dangerous, for example, when people of one nation or group see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority, and even consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others.”

Here it is not clear who the bishops may be thinking of. Fundamentalists–those who use the term for themselves–typically do not "see in the Bible a mandate for their own superiority." Members of the Klan might, but people at your local Fundamental Baptist church are more likely to be confessing their own unworthiness as sinners in need of God’s grace.

It is also really unusually to find any Fundamentalists who "consider themselves permitted by the Bible to use violence against others" except in the perfectly OBVIOUS cases where the Bible (and the teaching of the Catholic Church) allow the use of violence against others as part of legitimate defense (CCC 2263-2267, 2309).

Unfortunately, Gledhill has quoted so little of what the bishops wrote that it is impossible to tell what sort of Fundamentalists they had in mind (certainly not the normal kind).

Gledhill then switches back to her editorialization:

Of the notorious anti-Jewish curse in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be on us and on our children”, a passage used to justify centuries of anti-Semitism, the bishops say these and other words must never be used again as a pretext to treat Jewish people with contempt. Describing this passage as an example of dramatic exaggeration, the bishops say they have had “tragic consequences” in encouraging hatred and persecution. “The attitudes and language of first-century quarrels between Jews and Jewish Christians should never again be emulated in relations between Jews and Christians.”

What the bishops are reported as saying her eis just fine. But Gledhill has editorialized, telling us that Matthew 27:25 is "notorious" and an "anti-Jewish curse," when the bishops are at pains to explain that it is NOT anti-Jewish but is "an example of dramatic exaggeration." Gledhill has thus misunderstood the document on which she is reporting (or else stepping in to overrule the news with her own views).

It is also perfectly obvious that the remark is not "anti-Jewish" because it is uttered by Jewish people. The statement is an endorsement of Pilate’s actions uttered in the striking, hyperbolic mode of speech that was common in this time and culture.

The people aren’t literally cursing themselves (much less their whole ethnic group, which could scarcely have been in view in the crowd’s mind) any more than we are literally cursing ourselves if we say "Swear to God and hope to die!" or "May lightning strike me!"

These statements play other functions than attempting to literally bring a curse on oneself. Indeed, they are uttered when one feels SO confident that one is right that THERE IS NO DANGER of the misfortune coming to pass.

For a reporter–a professional wordsmith–Gledhill really should learn a little more about language and how it works. She also ought to read the documents on which she is reporting a little more carefully lest, as in this case, they CONTRADICT what she says.

As examples of passages not to be taken literally, the bishops cite the early chapters of Genesis, comparing them with early creation legends from other cultures, especially from the ancient East. The bishops say it is clear that the primary purpose of these chapters was to provide religious teaching and that they could not be described as historical writing.

Here Gledhill is again being misleading. While it is quite likely that the bishops noted similarities of the early chapters of Genesis to the creation accounts of other cultures, it is scarcely likely that they reduced them to the same level, which is what Gledhill’s statement would suggest. After all, the bishops believe in the inspiration of Scripture, while they do not believe in the inspiration of Egyptian or Babylonian mythology.

Similarly, they refute the apocalyptic prophecies of Revelation, the last book of the Christian Bible, in which the writer describes the work of the risen Jesus, the death of the Beast and the wedding feast of Christ the Lamb.

This represents an intolerable lapse of journalistic standards. It is completely inconceivable that the bishops of the Catholic Church in Great Britain perceived themselves as "refut[ing] . . . the last book of the Christian Bible."

This is yet another illustration of how Gledhill is too dangerously unqualified to keep her job. No reporter should be employed by a newspaper (especially not one with the pretentions of the Times of London) who cannot tell the difference between a group’s attempt to explain the proper interpretation of a book and refuting the book.

Explaining the proper interpretation of Shakespeare and refuting Shakespeare are two different things, and no reporter should be employed who can’t get that distinction right. This is all the more true when one is talking about a text that two billion people (the Christians of the world) hold to be divinely inspired.

That Gledhill has got it wrong and that the bishops were seeking to explain the proper interpretation of Revelation rather than "refute" it is plain, one again, from what she goes on to quote:

The bishops say: “Such symbolic language must be respected for what it is, and is not to be interpreted literally. We should not expect to discover in this book details about the end of the world, about how many will be saved and about when the end will come.”

Gledhill then goes on to note that the document carries a foreword that says that "people today are searching for what is worthwhile, what has real value, what can be trusted and what is really true." And she notes that the document was released for the 40th anniversary of Dei Verbum. And that Catholics have placed more emphasis on Scripture in recent years.

And then she does something really strange.

Apparently, Gledhill had a wordcount to meet and ran out of things to say about the bishops document that was the subject of the article. A few more quotations from it would have been nice so that we could see the context of those isolated words and phrases she gave us, but Gledhill either didn’t think of this or didn’t want to do it, so she chose instead to PAD HER STORY by giving us a micro-version of A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT STORY!

She writes:

A Christian charity is sending a film about the Christmas story to every primary school in Britain after hearing of a young boy who asked his teacher why Mary and Joseph had named their baby after a swear word. The Breakout Trust raised £200,000 to make the 30-minute animated film, It’s a Boy. Steve Legg, head of the charity, said: “There are over 12 million children in the UK and only 756,000 of them go to church regularly.

That leaves a staggering number who are probably not receiving basic Christian teaching.”

While this kernel could have been developed into a story of its own, it has no place being intruded into a story on a different topic just to fill up space.

The fact that it was only raises further questions about Gledhill’s ability to meet journalistic standards.

Only the padding isn’t over, because the online piece then concludes with a long list of Scripture references under the heading "BELIEVE IT OR NOT."

Apparently the Times does not feel its readers have sufficient wattage in their noggins to decide for themselves what to believe, so Gledhill (or someone) has labeled some of them "UNTRUE" and others "TRUE." ("UNTRUE" gets top billing.)

Where these passages came from is a TOTAL MYSTERY. No indication of that is given whatsoever. For all we know, they are just Gledhill’s personal picks and pans. However that may be, it is scarcely likely that the bishops of Great Britain–who in the document appeared repeatedly to be explaining the correct interpretation of Scripture passages–would baldly label a whole set of Scripture passages "UNTRUE."

That sounds more like Gledhill’s style: Misreading an interpreation for a refutation. Or simply imposing her own opinions in contradiction to the actual news.

One more reason she’s earned her nickname of "I’m Too Dangerously Unqualified To Keep My Job."

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Christian October 7, 2005 at 1:09 am

Five solas.
After darkness…light.

ukok October 7, 2005 at 1:22 am

In my ‘lower class’ high school we didn’t have ‘cheer-leaders’, and if we had, I would not have been elected (I would have sneered at them from the sidelines though, non conformist that I was) …I’m going to overcompensate now for that obvious deficiency in my childhood…
“Go Jimmy!”…”Go Jimmy!”…”Go Jimmy!”…”Go Jimmy!”
I will never do that again.
I’m completely shattered now.
God Bless

Steve Jackson October 7, 2005 at 4:27 am

I agree with you that this woman doesn’t know a thing about theology given that she doesn’t seem to understand inspiration, historicity, literal/non-literal and the like.
At the same time, isn’t it clear that the contemporary Catholic view of the Bible (that is, from the folks in Rome) is actually closer to the moderate/liberal protestant position than to the conservative Evangelical position?
Ratzinger/Benedicit rejects a historical reading of Genesis in his book IN THE BEGINNING and doesn’t believe that Daniel was written by Daniel, all of Isaiah was written by Isaiah or that Paul wrote the Pastorals.
And when contemporary catholic scholars tell us that large portions of Scripture aren’t historical they don’t mean simply “using a “more approximative style.” For example, Catholic scholars generally don’t believe that the infancy narratives are historical. Meier doesn’t believe that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there was a flight to Egypt, the wise men, etc. (A MARGINAL JEW, vol. 1, with imprimatur.)
In fact, I can’t think of a recent book by a Catholic NT scholar who defends the historicity of the Gospels in the same way that evangelicals such as Blomberg do.

Kosh October 7, 2005 at 5:10 am

I don’t get how she can expect Genesis to be completely scientifically accurate when it was written (or passed down, rather) more for more than 2,000 years before science really existed.

Anonymous October 7, 2005 at 6:16 am

Anybody have Gledhill’s E-mail address? She really needs to read this.

cw October 7, 2005 at 6:53 am

Click on the Join The Debate link at the bottom of the article and you can send comments. You have to find the title of the article since I couldn’t find the columnist’s name. Or click on Letters to the Editor in the Comments box on the left side of the screen. It has already stirred up some pretty good postings.

hippo354 October 7, 2005 at 6:54 am

She must have been ‘educated’ at the same school as those ‘journalists’ who reported on hurricane Katrina.

Shane October 7, 2005 at 7:17 am

What Ratzinger personally feels about a particular book of the Bible has nothing to do with the contemporary Catholic view. It is his personal view. I am a contemporary Catholic who would not agree with him, and I know plenty of others who would fall into the same boat.
And be careful when you read scholars, even Catholic scholars. A lot of them end up having their ideas being condemned by the Church. That’s not to say they’re wrong, but the fact is that scholars come up with all sorts of crazy things these days, a large majority of them completely bogus. I actually think Catholic scholars can be worse, given the leeway they have within Church teaching.

arthur October 7, 2005 at 7:59 am

The one thing I’m still a bit confused on Jimmy is “The Gift of Scripture” in fact an official publication of the British conference of bishops, or does it not even have that level of authority? And if it is, where can one get a copy so we can read exactly what the bishops meant?

Tim J. October 7, 2005 at 9:03 am

“In fact, I can’t think of a recent book by a Catholic NT scholar who defends the historicity of the Gospels in the same way that evangelicals such as Blomberg do.”
This why it is so great to be a Catholic – we don’t have to rely on the latest musings from the current crop of biblical “scholars” (Catholic or not) for our doctrine. This is why we have the Magisterium.
I would not say that the teaching of the Church is “closer to the moderate/liberal protestant position” than to the Fundamentalist position. I would say it is right in the middle of two extremes of error, just where it should be.

Ken Crawford October 7, 2005 at 9:04 am

Steve, I would say that it is unfair to characterize the Catholic perspective on the bible as similar to either of the two camps you’ve mentioned. Yes, we don’t take a fundamentalist view of the bible (which is what I assume you’re getting at by conservate Evangelical). But we also don’t dismiss many of the teachings of the Epistles as “out of date”, even when we’re unsure that all of them were written by Paul, which most liberal protestants do. We also take many passages of the bible more literally than either the liberal Protestants or the fundamentalists (i.e. “This is my body”).
So as it seems with all things Christian, it is difficult to accurately group us with any other Christain group. We are distinct and unique. We are Catholic.

Brian Day October 7, 2005 at 9:09 am

“The Gift of Scripture” is not on-line. Here is a link for ordering information.
£3.95 = $6.95 at todays conversion rate.

Brian Day October 7, 2005 at 9:12 am

“The Gift of Scripture” is not on-line. Here is a link for ordering information.
£3.95 = $6.95 at todays conversion rate.

Brian Day October 7, 2005 at 9:13 am

“The Gift of Scripture” is not on-line. Here is a link for ordering information.
£3.95 = $6.95 at todays conversion rate.

Brian Day October 7, 2005 at 9:28 am

“The Gift of Scripture” is not on-line. Here is a link for ordering information.
£3.95 = $6.95 at todays conversion rate.

John Henry October 7, 2005 at 9:31 am

What Ratzinger personally feels about a particular book of the Bible has nothing to do with the contemporary Catholic view.
My only point is that the “figurative language” the Catechism mentions in reference to the Genesis narrative is not only contemporary. It goes way back, along with more literal views, to the beginning of the Church. Thus we find St. Jerome describing the creation account as being written “after the manner of a popular poet”, and Origen places the “mysteries” of creation as “having taken place in appearance and not literally”. And the views of these (and other) Fathers were obviously not stated in an attempt to make the truth more palatable to evolutionists. Agree or not, *both* views go back to the beginning.

Steven D. Greydanus October 7, 2005 at 9:36 am

Absolutely devastating, Jimmy.
<language style=”usage-mode: non-technical; usage-tone: semi-humorous”>That’s why God created JimmyAkin.org!</language>
(Usage-coded for the hermeneutically impaired!)
(Steve Jackson, the issues raised by Jimmy’s post are already broad enough that it may be helpful to confine the discussion to what the Church actually teaches.)

Catholic Pillow Fight October 7, 2005 at 10:32 am

Jimmy Akin Smites Clueless Reporter with Eccle…

Jimmy Akin puts a Catholic pillow wielding smackdown on this woman with gems like this:

Catholic Pillow Fight October 7, 2005 at 10:35 am

Jimmy Akin Smites Clueless Reporter with Eccle…

Jimmy Akin puts a Catholic pillow wielding smackdown on this woman with gems like this
(Whoops tracked the wrong url before)

Chris A. October 7, 2005 at 11:22 am

The beauty of reading scripture ‘from the heart of the Church’ is that we are given wide berth (with a few key exceptions)when reading scripture, so that we may enjoy the many senses of it rather than just the literal or just the spiritual. What separates us from Evangelicals (and many mainline denominations)is their insistence on an “either/or” interpretation of things rather than the Catholic “and/both”. I believe that “You must eat of my body…” means that literally however, I can also accept that it points to our need to read and study ‘the Word’ daily, i.e. it is not one or the other but both/and. With Tradition as a guide and an inclusive reading of Scripture, we accept Christ at his word,literally but we don’t turn a blind eye to additional meanings of the passage.
As to being closer to mainline Protestants, not at all. Many Catholic theologians may be just that, but the Church doesn’t teach their musings and in fact I would suspect that the seminary visitations going on will be looking closely at how scripture.
There are many good, orthodox Catholic scripture scholars out there…but the one I find it hard for any Catholic to have missed is Scott Hahn. Check out the new Ignatius Study Bible series…read the introduction to any and all of the books of the Bible, or go to http://www.salvationhistory.com, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Jules October 7, 2005 at 11:28 am

Thank you Jimmy! My brain started melting out of my ears when I first read that article.

Steve Jackson October 7, 2005 at 11:46 am

Mr. Greydanus,
Cardinal Ratzinger once stated that the Pontifical Biblical Commission had “the full confidence of the Magisterium.” The PBC has had as members men such as Brown and Fitzmyer. You may feel that their views are contrary to Catholic teaching, but obviously JP II and Cardinal Ratzinger didn’t.
In addition, books by Brown, Fitzmyer and Meier contain the imprimatuer of the church which indicates they are in accord with church teaching.
Benedict appointed Kasper to head the important post of head of ecumenical and interreligous dialogue even though Kasper does not believe that Jesus’ nature miracles (such as multiplying the loaves, walking on water and raising the dead) are historical.
If you don’t agree with the views of Brown, Fitzmeyer, Meier, Kasper et al., then I salute you. But I don’t know anyone in the Magisterium who considers their views out of line.

John Henry October 7, 2005 at 12:38 pm

Steve, from previous discussions in the past, it is obvious that, not only do you reject what Brown, Fitzmyer et al. have said, but you also reject what the Church teaches (and understandably so, as you are not Catholic). So it’s a little difficult, not having a clue what any of these individual theologians have said (specifically), to determine whether you are again rejecting the teaching of the Church, or of some Catholic crank.
I assure you that, his encouraging words to the Pontifical Council (and not individual Catholic cranks) notwithstanding, Pope Benedict does not deny the veracity of Jesus’ miracles. The onus would be on you to demonstrate otherwise.

ukok October 7, 2005 at 12:42 pm

Can I be the one that says.
I never get a go, can’t we take it in turns…
God Bless.

Brian Day October 7, 2005 at 1:13 pm

I hit the “post” button once and waited for the software to do its thing. I got a time-out error, so I hit “post” again. I come back after awhile and there are four entries! Frustrating.

BillyHW October 7, 2005 at 2:42 pm

This lady’s columns are like temper tantrums.

Len October 7, 2005 at 7:07 pm

Another brilliant piece by the columnist from Jolly Old. (NOT)

StubbleSpark October 7, 2005 at 8:01 pm

Can’t you fools see the danger? The stupid this woman is putting out is so concentrated that it forms the ultra-rare Crystalline Stupid S-2! One of the rarest substances in the universe and she’s putting it out in huge quantities!
We have to get a contingent of body guards over there right away. If Cobra Commander finds out where to get his hands on Crystalline Stupid S-2, he’ll be able to finish his diabolical Idiot Ray and unleash its crippling effect on an unsuspecting population!!
It’s bad enough Idiot Rays are already in the hands of NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, HBO, ABC, NPR, BBC, UPN, CBC, TBS, etc… but not HIM too!
Can I hear a hardy “YO JOE!”?

whosebob October 7, 2005 at 9:41 pm

ukok wrote:
“In fact, I can’t think of a recent book by a Catholic NT scholar who defends the historicity of the Gospels in the same way that evangelicals such as Blomberg do.”
Try this Catholic scholar — the late Fr. William Most:
The MOST Theological Collection
Free From All Error: Authorship, Inerrancy, Historicity of Scripture, Church Teaching, and Modern Scripture Scholars
http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/most/getwork.cfm?worknum=216 (1985)
Commentary on the Gospels: The Thought of St. Matthew

ukok October 8, 2005 at 12:30 am

I’m not clever enough to ask questions like that*, but man, you gave me a good morning ego boost, so thanks anyway!
God Bless.
*I think you’ll find that it was reader Steve Jackson :)

The Blog from the Core October 8, 2005 at 5:50 am

Blogworthies LXXI

Blogworthies: A round-up of noteworthy entries from a variety of weblogs on a variety of topics.

Colin Singleton October 8, 2005 at 5:34 pm

Gledhill shouldn’t have any credibility.
In the articles that I read she doesn’t give any statistical citings or anything of that nature.
In her article, Societies worse off ‘when they have God on their side’, she basically just said that religion was bad over and over, and only cited one rather vague statistic about STDs.
She also didn’t give any reasons for religion being bad; she just said that it was, and gave examples of things that are bad existing in religious countries to a higher degree than in non-religious countries.
Anybody with an ounce of scientific thinking in their blood knows that an article like that is just bogus.
I hate to think how many people read that article and think that Gledhill is actually telling the truth, just going on the fact that she’s the one writing so she must know what she’s talking about.

Tim J. October 8, 2005 at 6:39 pm

“In addition, books by Brown, Fitzmyer and Meier contain the imprimatuer of the church which indicates they are in accord with church teaching.”
An imprimatur does not guarantee that a book is in accord with church teaching. What it means is that, in the opinion of the bishop who granted the imprimatur, the book contains nothing contarary to church teaching.
That’s an important distinction. I have seen the imprimatur on some very questionable books. It is intended to give a certain measure of reassurance to readers, but it is by no means 100% reliable.
More’s the pity.

Anonymous October 9, 2005 at 1:59 pm

But the difference is that Fitzmyer and Brown were promoted to the Pontifical Biblical Commission. In addition, many of those with similar views (such as Donald Senior) have also been appointed. I’m unaware of any conservative critics of Brown being so honored.
That JP II would appoint such people is prima facie evidence that their views are consistent with his.
I’ve read the books of Brown and Fitzmyer. Used “critically,” they can be very informative.

berenike October 9, 2005 at 10:24 pm

Augustine, de Genesi ad litteram: give ti toall your “but in the old days they took it all literally” friends.
imprimatur? My bishop had to be forced to withdraw his from a school textbook some years ago. So much for that.

Mean Dean October 10, 2005 at 7:37 am

Good fisking.
I wrote about this as well, but not with as much detail.
To me, it simply appears to be a religious correspondent using the term ‘literal’ in place of ‘inerrant’ to blur the lines and to paint British Catholics with a broad brush that isn’t true.

Magic Statistics October 10, 2005 at 10:19 am

Times religion correspondent smacked down

Ruth Gledhill, who penned the incompetent article that I took to task here, has a track record of allowing her religious biases to colour her reporting. Catholic apologist extraordinaire Jimmy Akin delivers a smack-down:
The religion correspondent f…

John P Sheridan October 10, 2005 at 11:14 am

When I first read this article I was infuriated by how wrongheaded it was. But I have to say, any critique of the article should focus on the major errors, of which there are many. Mr. Akin gets in those criticisms, but unfortunately, he starts off by attacking Gledhill for two minor errors and blows them out of proportion. From a rhetorical standpoint, I believe this nitpicking undermines the serious criticisms that come later. For example, she uses the term “Catholic hierarchy” with imprecision. But she clarifies her word choice a few sentences later; so she is guilty of being Britainocentric–but she is a British columnist writing for a British audience in a British newspapers. Many American columnists do the same thing. It’s not a big deal. Likewise, who is to say whether people are getting more or less religious? Europeans are getting less so while Americans are becoming more so–right? Again, not worth picking a fight over. Finally, what “journalistic standards” is she violating by including two stories in one column? If one is going to accuse Gledhill of imprecsion, then you should be careful not to do the same.

Fred October 10, 2005 at 4:24 pm

I saw this article first on christianity.com and scolded them for linking this to their mostly Christian audience. Right from the start the article use no sources nor references. Ruth Gledhill just says “so and so” said this or that. That should give any reader pause right from the start.

Eileen R October 10, 2005 at 4:26 pm

John P. Sheridan.
Likewise, who is to say whether people are getting more or less religious? Europeans are getting less so while Americans are becoming more so–right?
*splurts coca-cola onto the screen*
Do you really think so? Americans are getting *more* religious?
I’d love if it were so, but what exactly would be the evidence for that? Declining church attendance?
The ‘religious right’ is perhaps more vociferous – though I really don’t know – but there’s not much evidence that Americans are becoming more religious.

The Inquisitor October 10, 2005 at 5:25 pm

Steve it is obvious that not only a)that the Church can listen to the opinions of Brown, et al, and still retain an orthodox point of view, and b)you don’t listen very well. You have brought up the same points time and again, (once with Dave Armstrong, I believe)only to be rebutted time and again. Now do us all a favor, and crawl back where you came from.

Tim J. October 10, 2005 at 5:33 pm

Yeah, I had a good laugh over Americans getting more religious…
I would say that a number of us are getting more religious, and a bunch of us are getting less religious, hence the current American schizophrenia.
The folks in the middle, squeamish about taking sides, just hope the whole conflict will go away.
Kinda like Theoden, King of Rohan.

Joe October 10, 2005 at 6:13 pm

In Steve’s defense, no one has really rebutted him. The Church has left the earlier decrees of the PBC in the dust. If someone can recommend a book that covers the current RC view of inerrancy and inspiration in an orthodox way, I would truly appreciate the lead.

Jimmy Akin October 10, 2005 at 6:24 pm

Now do us all a favor, and crawl back where you came from.

The Inquisitor October 10, 2005 at 10:40 pm

Sorry. It’s just that I’ve had enough of his trolling. It won’t happen again.

Jimmy Akin October 10, 2005 at 11:41 pm

Understood. Thanks for your cooperation!

Angie October 21, 2005 at 8:26 pm

I’ve been searching for further info on this after having it thrown in my face by a fundy. And although I appreciated Jimmy’s taking this woman to task, I would have preferred finding an official explanation from the Vatican explaining and clarifying what the heck these Bishops meant! Surely they don’t live in a cave and know this is going around and it’s confusing the faithful and giving the enemies ammo??? I just don’t understand their silence in times like these.
Jimmy – don’t you have friends in high places who can inquire at the V about this new book?

rob williams October 28, 2005 at 1:54 pm

James…. whilst ruth exagerated the git of scripture is bad. The bishiopsaere in the hand of the Catholic Biblical association of Great Britain …totally modernist. I posted you a booklet today God bless Rob

Jeremy Lancey April 5, 2006 at 10:04 am

Does not Question 18 of the new Compendium imply the doctrine of limited biblical inerrancy?

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