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Discussion: Catholic BibleReported This is a featured thread

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GeneDouglas
Catholic Bible
Jan 19 2008, 11:04 AM EST | Post edited: Jan 19 2008, 11:04 AM EST
The entry on the Catholic Bible by Cathtruth.com says that Catholics don't interpret the Bible, because they wrote it, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. They only explain it. Only protestants must interpret the Bible, attempting to determine the real intentions of the authors, because they didn't write it themselves.

There are some logical problems with this. One is the fact that when the first manuscripts of the Bible were written, an organized Catholic church didn't exist. Another being that the original writers are long since dead, and modern Catholics are new guys, just like modern Protestants. None living today were around at the time. The writer of that statement seems to be guilty of arrogance, or at least exaggerated smugness.

Of course there's another element. Since the original writing, there has been the task of selecting which writings to include, which was a human endeavor. There is no claim or evidence for supernatural guidance by the people making those decisions. There is also evidence of changes in the manuscripts since the first copies were written. I doubt the Catholic church wants to take credit for that.
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GeneDouglas
1. RE: Catholic Bible
Jul 21 2008, 2:51 PM EDT | Post edited: Jul 21 2008, 2:51 PM EDT
What really did happen, if we can cut through the fog. Well, in the first century or two, there were a number of writers, and no organized church. Individual churches were separately organized, and writings were not in a "Bible," but in separate manuscripts that were copied and circulated. Each congregation receiving a new manuscript had to decide its authenticity for itself.

By the third century, there were bishops, responsible for a number of congregations in their districts. They had never come together for a meeting before 325, and even then only a minority (around 300 out of 1800) were able to meet together. By that time there were hundreds of manuscripts circulating, each hand copied from others, and many differing substantially from similar manuscripts.

By 329, bishops decided to close the canon and copy 50 copies of selected manuscripts to sell to the emperor, Constantine. They had to make decisions of which "books" to include, and which would be excess, if they wanted the size of the volume to be managable. And they had to decide which of similar copies to call authentic, and which to call corrupted copies.

Now, how does this add up to "Catholics wrote the Bible, so they know what it means?"
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GeneDouglas
2. RE: Catholic Bible
Sep 22 2008, 1:52 PM EDT | Post edited: Sep 22 2008, 1:52 PM EDT
Of course, in effect what they are saying is that Catholics are the only Christians, or that early Christians were Catholics, even before they got organized.

By the fourth century, there were people called bishops, so by that time you could say there were Catholics. But the scriptures were written in the first century.

Catholics didn't really get highly organized until the emperor Constantine came along, and then because he called a council that was expected to have the authority to make decisions and bind all others to abide by them. And of course, they would have the power of the Roman government to back them up. The first such action was to banish two bishops to what is now Yugoslavia, who refused to sign the document resulting from the first council of Nicea.

But by that time, Catholics were no longer writing anything that would find its way into a Bible. What they could find had been hand copied and re-copied many times over, with changes introduced into the copies from time to time.

So where's the "we" who wrote the bible?
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