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  #1  
Old Mar 29, '12, 10:55 am
Rainaldo Rainaldo is offline
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Default Fascinating Fact about Ronald Knox

Catholic apologists no doubt have heard of Msgr Ronald A Knox, the Anglican convert who wrote The Belief of Catholics and many other doctrinal and apologetic works, as well as fiction, especially detective stories, and even an English translation of the Latin Bible (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Knox).

I came across a tidbit of information about him, ten rules of detective fiction:

Quote:
  1. The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.
  2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
  3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
  4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
  5. No Chinaman must figure in the story.
  6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
  7. The detective himself must not commit the crime.
  8. The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.
  9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.
  10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
(from http://www.futilitycloset.com/2012/0...-commandments/)

I'm posting this in Apologetics > Sacred Scripture for two reasons: first, to plug Msgr Knox himself, whose work every Catholic apologist should be familiar with - including his not-so-apologetic works - and second, because these ten rules apply to Sacred Scripture in unexpected ways.

Take the Gospel stories, for example. Herod seems like "the criminal", but he isn't, because we know his thoughts - to trick the Magi into betraying Jesus. No, instead the criminal is the Devil in the desert, for we are told only that he tempted Jesus, but his agenda in doing so is left to the reader to infer.

The "detective" is Jesus, of course, who commits no crime, and the "clues" he discovers - perhaps in the archaic sense of "reveals" - are described in a few key verses:
  • "No man has seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the Bosom of the Father, he has declared him", John 1:18;
  • "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven", Matthew 16:17;
  • "And Jesus said: "For judgment I have come into this world: that they who see not may see, and they who see may become blind", John 9:39;
...and so on.

It's easy enough to see in the disciples the "stupid friend of the detective", who misunderstand Jesus in many things including the Transfiguration and the question of who is greatest among them. (Perhaps this is why Paul is not counted among the Twelve, since he seems to be a little smarter than the average reader.)

And of course we have twins - Boanerges as well as Didymus, introduced in the course of the story - but, in conformity with Knox's rule, there are no are there "Chinamen"

Do the Gospels conform to the remaining rules? And if they do, can you think of an (unexpected) apologetic use for that fact?
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Old Mar 29, '12, 6:30 pm
AdesteFideles AdesteFideles is offline
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Default Re: Fascinating Fact about Ronald Knox

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainaldo View Post
Do the Gospels conform to the remaining rules?
Where on earth would modern, liberal scholarship be without point number 2?
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Old Mar 29, '12, 8:04 pm
Rainaldo Rainaldo is offline
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Default Re: Fascinating Fact about Ronald Knox

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdesteFideles View Post
Where on earth would modern, liberal scholarship be without point number 2?
Do you think the Gospel stories rely too heavily on supernatural intervention? Ancient Greek fiction, fairy tales, and even CS Lewis' The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe have been criticized for this tendency.

You have to admit a resurrection from the dead is an insanely happy ending that cheapens the story ... if it's fiction ... don't you think? Apologetics-wise, if we grant for the sake of argument that the Gospels are fiction, they are among the worst stories ever told ... and I'm sure even Fulton Oursler would agree. This is the first apologetic argument I have ever heard that turns on literary criticism!
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Old Mar 30, '12, 5:21 pm
Joe Kelley Joe Kelley is offline
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Default Re: Fascinating Fact about Ronald Knox

In one of his essays C. S. Lewis comments on the Bible as myth. He notes that he is an amateur on theology, but an expert on myth. If it is myth he categorizes it as one of the poorest myths ever developed; the Norse myths beat it hands down.
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Old Mar 30, '12, 11:35 pm
Rainaldo Rainaldo is offline
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Default Re: Fascinating Fact about Ronald Knox

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Originally Posted by Joe Kelley View Post
In one of his essays C. S. Lewis comments on the Bible as myth. He notes that he is an amateur on theology, but an expert on myth. If it is myth he categorizes it as one of the poorest myths ever developed; the Norse myths beat it hands down.
So explain to me why this post is being ignored.
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Old Mar 31, '12, 10:08 pm
Crumpy Crumpy is offline
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Default Re: Fascinating Fact about Ronald Knox

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainaldo View Post
So explain to me why this post is being ignored.
The Bible is considered sacred inspired text. The key description of the Bible, if nothing else, is the record or account or writings about the intervention of God in history -- as a matter of faith.

If you approach the Bible as anything else, then you can arrive at your own conclusions, which inherit any of your pre-existing assumptions about it.

If you analyze the Bible, with or without faith, looking for structure, such as following certain rules, you may see something there, such as about the 'depth' of the characters, as Knox suggests.

I can say as an amateur/student of the Bible, I've read (a once-through reading, not an academic study) of a couple Jewish and Catholic essays on methods of Bible study.
There are many methods that have been used: feminist criticism (= analysis) , historical criticism, political criticism, psychological analysis, form criticism, redaction criticism, and (as they say) much, much more. Both Jewish and Catholic scholars reject any single silver-bullet method of studying scripture.

So, perhaps you can "map" Knox's rules "into" the Bible (with little difficulty, since this rules were developed by studying the Bible itself, at least in parts -- circular reasoning) and it may be useful up to a point. But, the Catholic Church is not trying to find an analytical tool to explain "away" the Bible, but to find all the treasures of faith in it, in order to live up to its mission of preaching the Gospel to all nations.

In the 20th century a guy named Rudolf Bultmann said the task was to demythologize the gospel to distill its essence and then to re-mythologize it so that people would believe in it again. I'm not sure than anybody has succeeded even in the de-mythologizing part of that -- yet.
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