Church

Fr Raymond E. Brown Page

Timothy over at the Catholic Bibles Blog draws attention to the Fr Raymond E. Brown page.

Likely the most influential American Catholic Biblical Scholar of the twentieth century, Fr. Raymond Brown, who passed in August of 1998, now has a nifty website dedicated to him.  It includes articles, recollections, and opportunities to purchase some of his audio and video recordings.  This site looks pretty new, so I can imagine that we will see more added to it in the coming months.

Among Fr. Raymond Brown’s most prominent works, in English, would certainly be his Anchor Bible Commentary on the Gospel of St. John,  The Birth of the Messiah, The Death of the Messiah, and one of his last books An Introduction to the New Testament.  (I should also mention his work on the New Jerome Biblical Commentary.)

Here is a helpful bio of Fr. Raymond Brown from Christianbook.com:

When he died in August 1998 at the age of 70, Father Raymond Brown was the “acknowledged dean of New Testament scholarship and a master of his discipline at the pinnacle of his career”…

Rest here.

 

Church

Why Did Protestants Stop Reading the Apocrypha?

Because they wanted cheaper Bibles.

In 2011 Ashland Seminary hosted a series of events celebrating the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Part of that celebration included setting up a museum in which we displayed various manuscripts and Bibles dating back over 2,000 years. Included among the items on display was a page from a 1611 King James Bible. But the page was not from an Old or New Testament book, but was from 1 Maccabees, one of the books contained in the Apocrypha. When people touring the museum saw this they were usually quite surprised. They didn’t realize that the Apocrypha was part of that Bible.  Today, most protestant Bibles do not include the Apocrypha and few have ever read the Apocrypha. But history reveals that the Apocrypha has been a part of what we call the “Bible” longer than it has not. For example, the earliest most complete Bible discovered at the monastery on Mount Sinai (Codex Sinaiticus) contained the Apocrypha as well as a number of other books that were and are, in general, not considered canonical. The evidence of the 1611 King James shows that while the Bible has expanded and shrunk over history, what we commonly call the Apocrypha was usually a part of the Bible.

Yet, the situation today is such that finding an English language Bible with the Apocrypha is the exception to the rule. But why is that? Was it because Protestants finally got their theological house in order and excised the spurious books? Nope! It appears that the decision was influenced more by economics than theology. Over at the Anxious Bench Blog Philip Jenkins has a good post on the history of the Apocrypha and how it was eventually removed from most Protestant English Bibles.

English-speaking Protestants lost the Deuterocanon not through any calculated theological decision, but through publishing accident, and at quite a recent date. Prior to the early nineteenth century, Anglo-American Bibles included the apocryphal section, but this dropped out as printers sought to produce more and cheaper editions. Increasingly too, during the nineteenth century, anti-Catholic sentiment encouraged Protestants to draw a sharp line between the two variant Bibles. If Catholics esteemed books like Maccabees and Wisdom, there must be something terribly wrong with them.

You can read the full post here.

 

Bible Archaeology

Jesus’ Wife is Dead

The Biblical World has the latest:

The story about the Jesus’ wife papyri seems to have run its course. The biggest news to come out in the last  few weeks is that it looks like the script on the fragment may have been copied from a Gospel of Thomas website. The reason this has been suggested is that the version of Thomas on the website has a typo, the scholar transcribing the text left out the direct object marker. When the papyri is compared to the website it has the same typo. It looks like someone may have forged the fragment from the website, but didn’t know Coptic or Thomas well enough to realize the problem.

For more on the story see:
Mark Goodacre  and James McGrath. Also, a nice overview of the story and how it has played out can be found in the Guardian, the NYPOST and Tech News.