Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Supernatural Revelation

We continue this series of posts on the basics of Catholic understanding of revelation, now moving from natural revelation to supernatural revelation.

Supernatural Revelation
In addition to the revelation of God available in nature, God has also communicated directly with mankind through history, which may be called supernatural revelation. Supernatural revelation communicates to humanity truths that which transcend human reason although are not opposed to it (e.g. the Trinity, or the divinity of Christ), as well as those truths available through the effort of human reason contemplating natural revelation (such as God’s existence and his basic attributes), in order that “they can be known

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Natural Revelation in the Catholic Tradition

Natural revelation refers to God’s self-disclosure in creation, through the things that have been made. Scripture and magisterial teaching are equally clear and emphatic that the knowledge of the existence of God and his basic attributes can be achieved by human reason reflecting on the created order:
1 The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night declares knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words; their voice is not heard; 4 yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19)
Dei Verbum 3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20).
It is a common misconception in contemporary culture, even within the Church, that recognition of the existence of God is always a matter of faith. Strictly speaking, however, it does not require faith to

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What is Sin and Why Does It Need to Be Forgiven? Thoughts on the Readings of the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This Sunday is the last before the start of Lent, and in this weekend’s Readings we are confronted with two recurrent themes: the forgiveness of sin, and the pouring out of God’s Spirit. The two are related to each other, but figuring out just what the relationship is will require some reflection on what sin actually is.

1. The First Reading is taken from the cycle of poetry that makes up the second half of the Book of Isaiah (40–66), much of which revolves around the coming of God’s “servant.”

It’s helpful to read our Mass passage (Isa 43:18-25) in context. The prophet is reflecting on the miracles of the Exodus in Isa 43:15-17, but then warns the people not to live in the past, because what God is going to do in the future will be even better:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thoughts on the Church's Old Testament Canon

The Canon of the Old Testament in the Days of Jesus

There was no universally-accepted canon of Scripture among the Jews in the first century A.D. Instead, different sects within Judaism had divergent views of which books were inspired and authoritative. The Samaritans and the Sadducees, although very different in their religious views and practice, were agreed that only the five Books of Moses were divinely inspired Scripture. The Pharisees, on the other hand, accepted a larger canon close to that of modern Jews and Protestants. One of the earliest witnesses to this canon is to be found in the Jewish historian

Josephus, a contemporary of St. Paul:

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Do Miracles Really Help?: Readings for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In this weekend’s readings, a healed leper disobeys Jesus and spreads the news of his miraculous cure everywhere, impeding the Lord’s ministry. Why did Jesus tell him to be quiet about the healing? What is the role of miracles in the Jesus’ ministry, and in the life of the Church today?

1. The First Reading for this weekend’s masses was obviously chosen to provide the background for understanding leprosy as it was experienced by the Jews and other ancient peoples.

Skin diseases of all sorts were a major cause of mortality in the ancient world, especially in Egypt, the land from which the ancient Israelites escaped. In the Pentateuch, God gave Moses extensive instructions for the quarantining and observation of those afflicted with leprosy and other contagious skin infections. Obviously these regulations were for the good of the community: infected persons were a public health risk, and had to be kept separate.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Join Us in Lubbock This Weekend

Join us Saturday and Sunday in Lubbock, Texas, for the Footsteps in Faith Cathoic Bible conference.  With Scott Hahn still unable to fly post-surgery, the line-up will be Barber, Bergsma, Pitre.  Its the Sacred Page in the flesh!  The topic is fabulous: The Body of Christ.  We're excited.

Another Great Paper by Joshua Berman at SBL

This post is for all you OT nerds out there.  Enough of Brant Pitre's boring stuff on the historical Jesus; let's hear it for Pentateuchal research!

Why do I hear crickets chirping?

Be that as it may, Joshua Berman, a highly original Hebrew Bible scholar from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, presented another stimulating paper at the November SBL Congress.  Berman has been focusing his research lately on parallels between Pentateuchal materials and Hittite (Asia Minor) literature from the 14-13th centuries BC (around the postulated time of the exodus). 

Scholars have long puzzled over why the historical synopsis in Deuteronomy 1-3 gives a different "spin" on Israel's historical events than the records in Exodus through Numbers.  Berman finds a parallel for this literary practice in the Hittite treaty literature: (continued, click below)