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
- 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.
- All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
- Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.
- No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.
- No Chinaman must figure in the story.
- No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.
- The detective himself must not commit the crime.
- The detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.
- 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.
- Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.
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?