Thursday, June 29, 2006

La Vulgata (c. AD 400) y la Neo-Vulgata (AD 1979)


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No te imaginas como me he tomado en serio esto de ahondar en nuestra tradición católica. Tengo serias preguntas sobre la autoridad de la iglesia (de la cual nunca dudo y nunca espero dudar), especialmente en lo que respecta a las traductiones de la Biblia. Estuve mirando los documentos pontificios sobre la Nueva Vulgata y todo lo relacionado, y no veo que sea antitética a la Vulgata antigua. No podríamos decir que que, en el fondo, el motivo de la iglesia en traducir de nuevo la Vulgata es es un deseo de buscar la verdad y una mayor presición en la tradución? Cuando San Jerónimo tradujo la compuso su Vulgata tradicional, él no contaba con los originales hebreos que han sido preservados en Palestina (entre ellos los rollos del Mar Muerto), sino con los que el Vaticano tiene (sobra decir que el Codex Vaticanum es uno de los más antiguos y más fieles documentos).

Como sea, lo que a mí me mueve es una profunda confianza en el Magisterio y en lo que el Magisterio aprueba. Si el Magisterio toma una decisión sobre algo, no esta allí actuando también el Espiritu Santo dirigiendo su Iglesia?

-Es cierto que la iglesia tiene poder para autorizar traducciones bíblicas. Yo no digo que le sea ilegítimo al papa aprobar una nueva traducción latina de la biblia. Yo lo que digo es que la Vulgata antigua todavía permanece siendo preferible a la vulgata nueva por su conexión íntima con la tradición de la iglesia. En otras palabras, la Vulgata tradicional, aunque quizás no sea la más perfecta gramaticalmente o la más elocuente en su latinidad, sin embargo es la que ha sido sancionada por el uso de la iglesia desde tiempo inmemorial. Tanto en la liturgia como en los documentos de la iglesia, tanto en sermones como en la exégesis, tanto en los tratados de filosofía y teología como en las obras ascéticas y piadosas de los santos—en toda la vida de la iglesia a través de los siglos la Vulgata antigua de San Jerónimo ha sido el texto normativo de las Sagradas Escrituras. Como dicen: quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus. La Vulgata antigua está, por así decirlo, grabada en la memoria del Cuerpo Místico de Cristo.

Así que por eso es que lamento el que la iglesia haya decidido sustituir su uso milenario de la Vulgata antigua por el uso de la Vulgata Nueva, que, aún si no sea incorrecta, no tiene el respaldo de la tradición como lo tiene la Antigua. (Aún cuando el papa Pío XII aprobó su nueva traducción de los salmos en 1945, él lo hizo muy claro que el salterio de Jerónimo—el que llamamos “galicano”—sigue siendo el normativo y que el oficio divino se podía seguir diciendo con dicho salterio.)

También muchos dicen que, aunque todo esto sea cierto, es necesario hechar la Vulgata al lado y utilizar una nueva traducción en la liturgia, en los documentos eclesiásticos, etc., porque la Vulgata contiene errores de traducción, o que su latín sea inadecuado, o que no toma en cuenta los descubrimientos archeológicos y filológicos más recientes, o que su selección de manuscritos es pobre, etc. Pero el problema es que el mismo Concilio de Trento ya declaró que la Vulgata (Clementina) es la traducción auténtica de la iglesia Romana:




Considerando además de esto el mismo sacrosanto Concilio, que se podrá seguir mucha utilidad a la Iglesia de Dios, si se declara qué edición de la sagrada Escritura se ha de tener por auténtica entre todas las ediciones latinas que corren; establece y declara, que se tenga por tal en las lecciones públicas, disputas, sermones y exposiciones, esta misma antigua edición Vulgata, aprobada en la Iglesia por el largo uso de tantos siglos; y que ninguno, por ningún pretexto, se atreva o presuma desecharla.


Así que: Roma locuta, causa finita. Y por lo tanto, ese argumento que dice que la debemos hechar a un lado es inadecuado, no importa qué—aún si sea verdad que la Nueva Vulgata tome en cuenta manuscritos antiguos que San Jerónimo no haya conocido. (De todas maneras San Jerónimo, que vivio en el cuarto siglo, tambien toma en cuenta muchos manuscritos muy antiguos en su Vulgata que desde entonces se han perdido, y que, por lo tanto, los creadores de la Nueva Vulgata no conocieron.)

Además, Jeronimo conocía su latín de una manera muchísimo más perfecta que cualquiera de nosotros en nuestra época somos capaces de conocerlo, pues Jerónimo lo vivió directamente, como su lengua materna. (Igual que tú conoces tu español de una manera que ningun americano, no importa cuánto español aprenda, jamás lo conocerá.) Por lo tanto, nosotros no podemos juzgar que su latinidad sea inadecuada. Cuando miramos la Vulgata, lo que a algunos de nosotros hoy nos parece un latín inadecuado, o simplemente una mala selección de variantes de manuscritos, es en realidad sea una latinidad perfectamente adecuada y una selección perfectamente lógica de un santo que trabajo bajo la inspiración de Dios—y cuya erudición es incuestionable.

Sancte Hieronyme, ora pro nobis!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Charismatics and Medjugorje


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What is your opinion of the purported appartions associated with Medjugorje and why? And what is your opinion of the "charismatic" movement in the Catholic Church?

As a preface to my reply, let me quote an excerpt from Colin B. Donovan, STL on the different types of pronouncements that the Church (or the local bishop) may make on a given reported apparition:

The decision of the local bishop should be one of the following: 1) constat de supernaturalitate (established as supernatural), 2) constat de non supernaturalitate (established as not supernatural); or 3) non constat de supernaturalitate (not established as supernatural).

1. Constat de supernaturalitate. An apparition judged supernatural (formerly called worthy of belief) has manifested signs or evidence of being an authentic or truly miraculous intervention from heaven. This judgment is possible when there is evidence of supernatural phenomena, sound doctrine, moral probity, mental health and sound piety of the seer(s) and enduring good fruits among the faithful. The issue of supernaturality is one that deserves to be explored more fully.

2. Constat de non supernaturalitate. The judgment that an alleged apparition has been shown to be not supernatural means it is either clearly not miraculous or lacks sufficient signs of the miraculous. Private revelation, for example, which is doctrinally dangerous or which manifests hostility to lawful authority could not come from God. It could even be demonic, especially if there are extraordinary signs accompanying it. The devil gladly mingles truth and lie to deceive the faithful, dazzling them with signs and wonders to give credence to his message. His purpose is to separate them from the Church, either by getting them to believe things contrary to the deposit of the faith or to act contemptuously of Church authority. An attitude of pride and judgment toward the Church is a clear sign of his presence. An alleged revelation may also only be a pious rambling, consistent with faith and morals, but lacking evidence of being anything more than the product of human effort. No fraud need be intended, only an active imagination. Finally, it may be that the doctrine may be sound and there may be phenomena, but insufficient to demonstrate supernaturality. In this latter case, there would seem to be a possibility of revision.

3. Non constat de supernaturalitate. Finally, it may not be evident whether or not the alleged apparition is authentic. This judgment would seem to be completely open to further evidence or development.

This distinction is useful for assessing, not only (I) Medjugorje, but also (II) the Charismatic Movement.

I. As far as Medjugorje goes, I would lean towards saying (3) non constat de supernaturalitate. I mean this with regards to the apparitions and messages themselves, and not with regards to the plethora of reported "miracles," "strange pictures," etc. which surround the apparitions.

On the one hand, I have heard sceptics (traditional Catholics, as a matter of fact) offer convincing evidence that its all fake. On the other hand, I have been to Medjugorje, and I can sincerely say that I strongly felt the presence of Our Lady there. But this is merely from an experiential (subjective) point of view, so that doesn't really have much theological weight.

Also, I do not know the reported apparitions well enough to make an objective theological judgment on them (i.e., to say that they are orthodox or heterodox).

So I have not yet reached a final conclusion on the matter. I wouldn't worry about it too much though. I would rather worry about Fatima, which positively (1) constat de supernaturalitate, and to this day remains ignored by the Church today, especially the hierarchy. For the most part, the message of Medjugorje does not really go beyond that of Fatiima. If you are faithful to Our Lady of Fatima you are automatically faithful to Our Lady of Medjugorje. (Medjugorje does push fasting, saying the rosary, frequent confession, etc. a bit further than Fatima, though, so that is good; but other than that, the message of Medjugorje is already "included" in that of Fatima.)

II. As far as the Charismatic movement goes, I would have to make a sub-distinction. There is the issue of (A) whether the events that reportedly occur in charismatic events (e.g., healings, prophecies, speaking in tongues, etc.) are supernatural, and then the question of (B) whether this type of worship is appropriate within the context of the liturgy.

A. I would be strongly inclined to say that at least some charismatic prayer meetings do positively (1) constant de supernaturalitate. During my years prior to becoming a traditionalist Catholic, I experienced during Catholic charismatic prayer meetings what at least seemed like supernatural events. For example, I have seen people being cured instantaneously of their illnesses and handicaps: people who previously had paralisis were walking; people with severe arthritis immediately healed; etc.

I witnessed, together and simultaneously with dozens of others, a sweet and unmistakeable scent of roses filling the air during rosary mediations at a charismatic prayer meeting--at a place where there were certainly no roses nearby. (Interestingly, those meditations were based on the message of Fatima).

I have also witnessed "miracles" in the order of grace. I once personally received the grace of a profound repentance and bitter compunction for my sins, accompanied by an incontrolable need to weep profusely (something which I am not at all inclined to do by temperament). Catholic charismatics call this "the gift of tears," based on early Syrian monastic spirituality.

So I am strongly convinced that God can, and sometimes does, act (supernaturally) through these prayer gatherings. After all, whether you do it in Latin or in unintelligible tongues, "where there are two or three gathered together in my Name, there am I in the midst of them." (Ubi enim sunt duo vel tres congregati in nomine meo ibi sum in medio eorum. Mt. 18:20)

B. Nevertheless, "Charismatic worship" is obviously and completely out of place within the Roman Rite--in fact, Catholic liturgy in general. That is just not the way we Catholics worship God liturgically. The liturgy has its own principles and rubrics which are not to be tampered with.

Outside the liturgy, however, I do not (yet) have objections against charismatic worhsip in general. (Some particular practices are unsound and/or objectionable. Here I simply speak in general, meaning by "charismatic worship" simply a very expressive style of prayer.)

My thinking is: if you want to throw your hands up in the air when you pray and say halleluia a thousand times, go ahead... just don't do it during Mass!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Blog Update


Share/Bookmark Dear visitors,

Today I found six comments waiting at the blog control page for my approval. I intended to accept them, but I accidentally clicked on the wrong button and rejected them. I didn't mean to do that. In fact, they were all very good comments. So if it is not too much trouble, I would ask those of you whose comments I accidentally rejected to re-post them, and this time I will make sure I do publish them.

Also, I apologize that lately I have not been able to post much. As many of you know, I am in the process of moving (from Milwaukee, WI to Rockford, IL), so I have been incredibly busy getting the house ready for sale, plus the usual work, etc. I will try to post something at least once per week (and not the usual, once-per-day) until we get settled in Rockford, which should happen sometime in late August. But please, do not let that slow you down with sending in questions, which I always appreciate. I will reply to them to the extent that I can.

In Domino,
-Francisco Romero.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Le ‘dogme’ et la ‘doctrine’ : y a-t-il une différence ?


Share/Bookmark -Leur signification de base c’est la même: ‘dogme’ c’est le mot grec (δογμα, enseignement); ‘doctrine’ c’est le mot latin (doctrina, enseignement--pris du verbe docere, enseigner).

Mais, dans leur usage courant dans l’Église, ce sont des mots très différents. ‘Dogme’ est normalement pris comme signifiant les définitions et déclarations officielles et solennelles des enseignements qui doivent être tenus par tous les fidèles du monde. Cela inclut les définitions dogmatiques faites ex cathedra par le pape, comme les dogmes de l’Immaculée Conception et l’Assomption de Notre Dame, etc.; et aussi les définitions dogmatiques des Conciles Œcuméniques, par exemple, les prononcements sur la divinité et l’humanité de Notre Seigneur (faites dans les premièrs Conciles Œcuméniques, comme celui de Nicée et celui de Constantinople), les condamnations du protestantisme (prononcés au Concile de Trente) et même le dogme de l’infaillibilité du Pape quand il parle ex cathedra (prononcé au 1ère Concile du Vatican), etc.

Mais le mot ‘doctrine’ est utilisé plus largement, pour signifier un enseignement quelconque, sans avoir aucun égard à l’autorité avec laquelle il est enseigné. Exemples de doctrines pas ‘dogmatiques’ sont: la doctrine de Notre Dame comme mère et médiatrice de tous les fidèles, la doctrine du ‘limbus puerorum’ (le lieu où vont les enfant morts sans avoir reçu le baptême), et le fait que les femmes ne peuvent pas recevoir le sacrement de l’ordre.

Voir : Les « notae theologicae »

Friday, June 09, 2006

Una Falsa "Profecía de Fátima"


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Hay un email que se está circulando que dice que la Virgen de Fátima predijo que el fin del mundo se acercaría este 6 de junio (06.06.06). Es cierto esto? Tienes copia de la profecía original?

-No, no es cierto. Ese no es el texto del secreto de Fátima. El que lo escribió se lo habrá sacado de la manga. Y también algunos de los datos históricos ofrecidos en esa explicación del mensaje son falsos (por ejemplo, fue el Papa Juan XXIII, y no Juan Pablo II, quien primero decidió no revelarlo; la hermana Lucía ya no vive; murió hace más de un año; etc.). Aquí hay un artículo de un sacerdote y teólogo católico Peruano que explica la falsedad de este inauténtico “secreto de Fátima.”

El mensaje original de Fátima (íntegro y sin sensacionalismo) lo verás en este website muy bueno e informativo del “Fatima Center”:

(Es en inglés; no conozco mucho los websites en español, pero estoy seguro que hay varios muy buenos; por ejemplo, este.) Pero hay que tener cuidado y saber cuáles son ortodoxos y cuales no lo son.)

De todas maneras, absolutamente nadie, sino Dios Padre, sabe la hora ni el dia en que el mundo se acabará. Jesús vendrá denuevo cuando nadie lo espere. Ninguna profecía que pretenda predecir cuando el mundo se acabará es compatible con el dogma católico. Asi enseña Jesús mismo (Mc. 13:31-37):
El cielo y la tierra pasarán, mas mis palabras no pasarán. Empero de aquel día y de la hora, nadie sabe; ni aun los ángeles que están en el cielo, ni el Hijo, sino el Padre. Mirad, velad y orad: porque no sabéis cuándo será el tiempo. Como el hombre que partiéndose lejos, dejó su casa, y dió facultad a sus siervos, y a cada uno su obra, y al portero mandó que velase: Velad pues, porque no sabéis cuándo el señor de la casa vendrá; si a la tarde, o a la media noche, o al canto del gallo, o a la mañana; Porque cuando viniere de repente, no os halle durmiendo. Y las cosas que a vosotros digo, a todos las dijo: Velad.
Y denuevo (Mt. 24:35-51):

El cielo y la tierra pasarán, mas mis palabras no pasarán. Empero del día y hora nadie sabe, ni aun los ángeles de los cielos, sino mi Padre sólo. Mas como los días de Noé, así será la venida del Hijo del hombre. Porque como en los días antes del diluvio estaban comiendo y bebiendo, casándose y dando en casamiento, hasta el día que Noé entró en el arca, y no conocieron hasta que vino el diluvio y llevó a todos, así será también la venida del Hijo del hombre. Entonces estarán dos en el campo; el uno será tomado, y el otro será dejado: Dos mujeres moliendo a un molinillo; la una será tomada, y la otra será dejada. Velad pues, porque no sabéis a qué hora ha de venir vuestro Señor. Esto empero sabed, que si el padre de la familia supiese a cuál vela el ladrón había de venir, velaría, y no dejaría minar su casa. Por tanto, también vosotros estad apercibidos; porque el Hijo del hombre ha de venir a la hora que no pensáis. ¿Quién pues es el siervo fiel y prudente, al cual puso su señor sobre su familia para que les dé alimento a tiempo? Bienaventurado aquel siervo, al cual, cuando su señor viniere, le hallare haciendo así. De cierto os digo, que sobre todos sus bienes le pondrá. Y si aquel siervo malo dijere en su corazón, Mi señor se tarda en venir: Y comenzare a herir a sus consiervos, y aun a comer y a beber con los borrachos; vendrá el señor de aquel siervo en el día que no espera, y a la hora que no sabe, y le cortará por medio, y pondrá su parte con los hipócritas: allí será el lloro y el crujir de dientes.

Y ese mismo es el mensaje original y verdadero de la Virgen en Fátima: Rosario, ayuno, confesión, comunión, reparación por los pecados... nada de cataclismos, ni de bombas nucleares, ni de cuándo se acaba el mundo, ni de tonterías de esas. Solamente que tomemos nuestra fe en serio y que hagamos reparación por nuestros pecados, que glorifiquemos a Dios en todo momento, y que hagamos todo lo necesario para ir al cielo. Catolicismo, no sensacionalismo.

La Virgen quiere que seamos salvos; no simplemente que nos asustemos. Mantente firme en las manos de la Virgen de Fátima y de nuestra Santa Madre Iglesia, y no le hagas caso a esos locos que se sacan doctrinas religiosas de la manga.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Can Non-Thomists be Good Catholics? --Pt. 2.


Share/Bookmark I am a new comer to your website, and I absolutely love it. As a devoted Thomist (purely amateur of course), and avid reader of Fr. Reginal Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P., I find much pleasure in the disputations and web links on your site.

A quick question, and please excuse my ignorance if this is answered somewhere else on your site, or if the question is improperly posed:

What, if any, is the level of magisterial authority behind the 24 Thomistic Theses that were approved by the Sacred Congregation of Studies in 1914? Can any these be rejected outright today by a Catholic?



Welcome to Ite ad Thomam! Here is our beloved Garrigou's answer to your question (in his book Reality, Ch. 55):


What shall be the binding force of these theses? They are safe norms of intellectual guidance. [1336] This decision of the Congregation, confirmed by Benedict XV, was published March 7, 1916.

The next year, 1917, saw the promulgation of the New Code, which [1337] makes the method, the principles, and the teaching of St. Thomas binding on the professors and students both in philosophy and in theology. Among the sources of this canon the Code cites the decree of March 7, 1916.

Pope Benedict XV, on various occasions, expressed his mind on this point. He approved, for instance, in a special audience, the intention of P. E. Hugon, O. P.: to write a book [1338] on the twenty-four theses. The author of the book [1339] reports that the Pontiff said that he did not intend to impose the twenty-four theses as compelling internal assent, but as the doctrine preferred by the Church. [1340]


Footnotes:

1336 Proponantur veluti tutae normae directivae.
1337 Can. 1366, § 2.
1338 Les vingt-quatre theses thomistiques, Paris, Tequi, 1922.
1339 Ibid.: p. vii.
1340 P. Guido Mattiussi, S. J. had written already in 1917 a work of first importance on this subject:
Le XXIV tesi della filosofia di S. Tommaso d'Aquino approvate dalla Sacra Congreg. degli Studi, Roma.


So there are four things being said:

1) The 24 Theses represent authentic Thomism--this is expressed in Pope S. Pius X's document that contains the theses (1914).

2) They are safe norms of intellectual guidance--this is expressed in Pope Benedict XV's decree in 1916.

3) The 24 Theses represent the preferred doctrine of the Church--this is expressed in the Pope Benedict's comment as reported by Fr. Hugon.

4) Thomism is mandatory for seminaries--this was expressed in the Code of Canon Law of 1917.

Whereas (1) through (3) are doctrinal truths, (4) is more of a disciplinary measure that depends on the Code of Canon Law (CIC). The old CIC was replaced by a new one (in 1983), which greatly mitigates the mandatory nature of Thomistic studies, reducing it to a vague recommendation. So, sadly, (4) is no longer the case. Therefore, a seminary professor could simply reject the doctrine of the 24 Theses nowadays without violating canon law.

However, (1) through (3) are still true. Of course, the Theses still (1) represent authentic Thomism, (2) they are still safe norms of intellectual guidance, and (3) they still represent the preferred doctrine of the Church. That was true then and it is true now. Not that one is a heretic if one denies these truths (for they are not de fide), but we do owe religious assent to them, so denying them would be an act of disobedient dissent.

See also:

a) My previous post, Can Non-Thomists be Good Catholics? (Pt. 1 of this post).
b) Pope Leo XIII's Aeterni Patris (on the Restoration of Christian Philosophy)
c) Pope Pius IX's Studiorum Ducem (on St. Thomas).

Monday, June 05, 2006

Kansas Mayor Promotes Social Queenship of Mary


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Friday, June 02, 2006

Was Man Created Before or After the Animals?


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God Creating Birds and Animals Art Print by Belbello da Pavia

Dear Mr. R.
I struggle to find a way to reconcile the different creation accounts of Genesis with each other. In the first creation account (Gen. 1), God makes all of creation, the plants, animals, etc., and then he makes man. In the second (Gen. 2), he makes man first and then makes the animals. I am very confused with this whole issue at this point and was wondering if you could shed some light upon the situation for me. I feel that I must be reading something incorrectly or missing something very crucial.
Thanks.

-First a little bit of background. Modern historical critical scholars claim that Genesis 1 and 2 represent two different and conflicting accounts of creation. They say this primarily due to the way in which these two passages name God (Gen. 1 “Elohim” and Gen. 2 “Yahweh,”) but also due to other apparent discrepancies, such as the one you are talking about, as well as discrepancies of order and duration of events, language, emphases, etc. They conclude that the two passages must have been written/edited by different authors, Gen. 1-2:3 supposedly being the “Elohist” account and 2:4ff being the “Yahwist” account. (You have heard of the "JEDP" theory, right?) These apparent discrepancies are the root of the apparent contradiction that you are asking about.

The main discrepancy, that between the names of God, can be solved simply if we realize that (regardless of whether all of Genesis was written by Moses or by different authors/editors), the Primary Author of Scripture, the Holy Ghost, had two different intentions in these two accounts. In Gen. 1 He calls Himself Elohim (= “God,” which connotes God’s power and majesty: “GOD THE ALMIGHTY!!!”), wishing to express His lordship and dominion over the earth. In Gen. 2 He calls Himself Yahweh (= “I AM WHO AM,” which connotes a personal revelation to the chosen people of the covenant), wishing to express his personal covenant with Adam and Eve.

Of course, there are other apparent discrepancies. But ultimately, because the Primary Author of ALL of Scripture is the Holy Ghost, all the discrepancies can be resolved. I can’t possibly solve them all (and perhaps there are some that will never been resolved), but we can tackle in detail the one you mentioned.

The discrepancy concerning the order and duration of events is simply resolved if we realize that although scripture intends to convey history, it is not history in the sense that we understand it. What we call “history” in the modern sense is really only one type of history, the kind best described as archivist history, where chronological accuracy has primary importance. But the history of Scripture can best be described as Semitic religious history, which orders events not necessarily in chronological order, but in order of importance or in an order that has religious meaning. (Cf. even the Gospels sometimes go back and forth chronologically.) So it’s perfectly normal for Gen. 1 to give the overall chronological big picture and then for Gen. 2 to go back, slow down, and give the details with all their religious importance.

So on the one hand, there’s Genesis 1, which gives a day-by-day account of creation. On day one, “God” (Elohim) made light and darkness; On day two, God made and divided the waters, making the firmament of heaven and the seas; On day three God separated the sea from dry land and created plants; On day four God made the rulers of those things made in day one, namely, the Sun and the moon; On day five God made the rulers of those things made in day two, namely, birds and fish; On day six God made the rulers of those things made in day three, namely, animals and men. In verses 24-5, the animals are made first. The next verses, Genesis 1:26ff, have God making man and woman and immediately blessing them and giving them dominion over the (already-created) animals. All of this happened on the sixth day of creation. Then this account of the seven days of creation (the hexameron) ends in Genesis 2 with the Day Seven (verses 1-3).

On the other hand, there is Genesis 2, verses 4ff, where there seems to be yet another account of creation, and this time the Creator is named the “Lord God” (Yahweh). This account does not do a day-by-day narration of events, but rather starts with the creation of the heavens and the earth and says, “in the day that the Lord God created the heavens and the earth (v. 4)... the Lord God formed man of the slime of the earth (v. 7).” Then it describes Paradise until v. 17. In vv. 18ff the creation of Eve is narrated: "It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself...” But then Genesis 2:19 narrates the event of God bringing the animals before Adam. Some translations say that He “formed” the animals “and brought” them before Adam (who was presumably created before the animals). And only after this is Eve made from the side of Adam.

So, in sum, the problem is that, whereas in Gen. 1:24-5 God made the animals and in Gen. 1:26ff He made man and woman, in Gen. 2:7 Adam was made, and then in Gen. 2:19 “God formed... [the] wild animals....” So Gen. 1 is saying animals first then both man and woman, but Gen. 2 is saying Adam first, then the animals, then Eve.

This is mainly a problem of translation--specifically, the translation of 2:19, where Genesis mentions the creation of animals. Does this passage mean to narrate the creation of animals (as if it hadn't narrated it yet), or to recall the already-narrated creation of animals? In other words, does the Sacred Author mean 2:19 as new information or simply as a recap of something that had already happened?

Since I don’t know Hebrew, I can’t help you with the original text. So let’s look at some translations:

The Douay Rheims (the traditional Catholic English translation) is very clear:
And the Lord God HAVING FORMED out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam...
In other words, we could read it as "God, having previously formed... the beasts... brought them to Adam.” This translation clearly conveys that by v. 19 God had already formed the animals and that now he’s just bringing them to Adam. This solves the apparent contradiction.

Now, the Douay is a very literal translation of St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate. The Vulgate, which is the official Latin translation of the Roman Rite (and which was officially declared by Trent to be an infallible translation!), is even more clear. Here is the text along with a word-by-word translation:

FORMATIS (having been formed) igitur (therefore) Dominus (the Lord) Deus (God) de (from) humo (the ground) cunctis (all) animantibus (the animals) terrae (of the earth) et (and) universis (all) volatilibus (the birds) caeli (of the sky) adduxit (lead) ea (them) ad (to) Adam (Adam)....

This Latin construction, formatis... cunctis animantibus terrae... (= "all the animals of the earth having been formed") is what grammarians call an "ablative absolute," which is, in principle, a phrase that is "grammatically independent of the sentence of which it occurs" (Scanlon, Latin Grammar, p. 120). In other words, the phrase speaks of an event which occurs at a time different from that of the main sentence. To render the passage in a crudely literal way: “Therefore, all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the sky having been formed from the ground [understood, already, at some other time], the Lord God lead them to Adam....”

Now, the Septuagint (from the Latin, Septuaginta literally, "The Seventy") was a compilation done from seventy exactly identical but independent translations done by seventy Hellenistic Jewish rabbis. Their unanimity was taken as a sign from God's approval. The Septuagint reads (in Roman transliteration, with word-by-word translation in parenthesis):

Kai (And) EPLASEN (forming) ho (the) Theos (God) eti (therefore) ek (from) tês (the) gês (ground) panta (all) ta (the) thêria (animals) tou (of the) agrou (earth), kai (and) panta (all) ta (the) peteina (birds) toû (of the) ouranou (sky); kai (and) êgagen (leading) auta (them) pros (to) ton (the) Adam (Adam)...

In Greek there is no ablative absolute. The Greeks instead were crazy about their participles: it would be something completely normal for them to say something like this: “Jesus, coming out of Nazareth, walking through the cities of Galilee, being baptized in the Jordan river, preaching to the lost tribes of Israel, dying on the cross, and being buried in the tomb, rose on the third day.” So all those verbs, the participles (“coming,” “walking,” “being baptized,” “preaching,” “dying,” “being buried”) speak of events that happened at a different time from the main verb of the sentence, “rose.” The same thing happens here in the Greek of Gen. 2:19: “And, again, God, forming from the ground all the animals of the earth and all the birds of the sky, and leading them to Adam...” So the sentence very clearly allows the “forming” (eplasen) and the “leading” (êgagen) to have taken place at (significantly) different times.

But the newer (less Catholic) translations of 2:19 are unaware of these nuances:

New American Bible:
So the Lord God FORMED out of the ground various wild animals and various birds of the air, and he brought them to the man...
Implying that he formed the animals and then he brought them to an already existing Adam. This would contradict Gen. 1:24ff.

The King James Version has the same problem:
And out of the ground the Lord God FORMED every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam ...

Jerusalem Bible isn’t better:

So from the soil Yahweh God fashioned all the wild beasts [missing: “of the earth”] and all the birds of heaven. These he brought to the man...

The New International Version is much better:

Now, the Lord God had FORMED out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man ...

So the NIV seems to render the first sentence as a reminder and not as a new piece in the chronological narrative.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Lingua Latina: Latin morphology drills


Share/Bookmark Here's a VERY helpful program called Lingua Latina that drills you in most aspects of Latin morphology.

Instructions for free download:

1) Go to the Lingua Latina webpage.

2) Look for the heading: "Download Lingua Latina"

3) Follow the instructions there.

4) Have a blast reviewing your forms!