Bothered by NAB intros for new testament books


#1

Is anyone else bothered by the tone and content of the intros used in the NAB for the new testament books. Its particularly distressing to me that they all seem to call into question the traditional authorship of the new testament books. For instance in the intro to Matthew, it says:

The questions of authorship, sources, and the time of composition of this gospel have received many answers, none of which can claim more than a greater or lesser degree of probability. The one now favored by the majority of scholars is the following.

The ancient tradition that the author was the disciple and apostle of Jesus named Matthew (see Mt 10:3) is untenable because the gospel is based, in large part, on the Gospel according to Mark (almost all the verses of that gospel have been utilized in this), and it is hardly likely that a companion of Jesus would have followed so extensively an account that came from one who admittedly never had such an association rather than rely on his own memories. The attribution of the gospel to the disciple Matthew may have been due to his having been responsible for some of the traditions found in it, but that is far from certain.

The unknown author, whom we shall continue to call Matthew for the sake of convenience, drew not only upon the Gospel according to Mark but upon a large body of material (principally, sayings of Jesus) not found in Mark that corresponds, sometimes exactly, to material found also in the Gospel according to Luke. This material, called “Q” (probably from the first letter of the German word Quelle, meaning “source”), represents traditions, written and oral, used by both Matthew and Luke. Mark and Q are sources common to the two other synoptic gospels; hence the name the “Two-Source Theory” given to this explanation of the relation among the synoptics.

In addition to what Matthew drew from Mark and Q, his gospel contains material that is found only there. This is often designated “M,” written or oral tradition that was available to the author. Since Mark was written shortly before or shortly after A.D. 70 (see Introduction to Mark), Matthew was composed certainly after that date, which marks the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans at the time of the First Jewish Revolt (A.D. 66–70), and probably at least a decade later since Matthew’s use of Mark presupposes a wide diffusion of that gospel. The post-A.D. 70 date is confirmed within the text by Mt 22:7, which refers to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Why does the USCCB approve an introduction that says that the Traditional authorship of the bible is untenable? And why does it folllow that Matthew had to be written after the destruction of Jerusalem. Why isn't it possible for Our Lord to have successfully prophesized this? Don't we believe He's God?

Is it just me? Or do these intros seem to lack the basic faith in Jesus?


#2

Get a Douay-Rheims or RSVCE (Catholic Edition). Case closed.

I know. I have a few copies at home, but I've heard that there are some heterodox footnotes in the NAB. Plus, the language is too plain. Douay-Rheims may have all the "Thees and Thous" but its far more sweet sounding, and for something that is the Love-Letter of GOD to man, the Bible, I think it makes it all the more Divinely Romantic. When the english language isn't butchered, its one of the most beautiful languages in the world. Anyhow, I digress....


#3

There are many who are put off by the notes in both the NAB and NAB-RE. I have a copy of each, but for reference purposes only. Lately, I have been drawn to the Confraternity bible, produced from 1941-1969. Here is the first paragrph of the 1949 editions' introduction to Matthew's Gospel:

*"Saint Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alphaeus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collector's place in Capharnaum. Before his conversion, he was a publican, i.e. a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the Levi of Mark and Luke. His apostolic activity was at first restricted to the communities of Palestine. Nothing definite is known about his later life. There is a tradition that points to Ethiopia as his field of labor; other traditions make mention of Parthia and Persia. It is likewise uncertain that whether he died a natural death or received the crown of martyrdom. His feast is celebrated on September 21." *

Other bits include:

**"Writing for his countrymen of Palestine, St. Matthew composed his Gospel in his native Aramaic, the "Hebrew tongue" mentioned in the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles"

"The Gospel was soon translated into Greek - possibly during the lifetime of Saint Matthew or a little later; certainly before the close of the first century. The Greek text, however, is in substantial conformity with the original. Saint Matthew's Gospel, then, was was the only book of the New Testament written in a language other than the Greek common to the people of the empire" **

Quite a difference. Quite a bit of doubt has crept into those notes in the past 60 years. Why it is, that the further we are away from the incidents, the more we think we know about them (or the more confused we are about them) remains a failure of human nature. It seems that the revisers of the NAB/RE lean toward the 19th century "Q" or "Quelle" theory of a single source document for all of the Gospels. Of course, this appears to oppose the Hebrew requirement for the truth of a matter to be established by "two or three" witnesses testifying separately and seems to reduce the Gospels to be the efforts of individual scribes drawing from a single original. Someone else can enlighten more in this regard.

I have heard various stories about the natures of some of the revisers of the NAB/RE. I do note that the compilers of the CCD bible that I have seen were either "Revered" or "Very Reverend" while the NAB/RE is fairly well populated with "Dr." - in other words, secular theologians, historians, etc. Frankly, to me it sounds rather uncomfortably similar in principle, to the demographics of the revisers of the JW "New World Translation."

The truth cries our for a more faithful and authentic English language translation, since it remains easier to defend Catholic doctrine from the King James Version than it is from the NAB/RE. I have a feeling that this soon will, or has already begun to change. We can only hope and pray that it does.


#4

The problem with reading that introduction to the New Testament is that it sort of slaps you in the face with things you may have never heard before, or, otherwise, are not willing to concede in such in-your-face commentary.

Please keep in mind that a substantial majority of scholars may actually subscribe to the conclusions that are presented there.

In my mind, this is all scholarly dirty laundry that they ought to keep to themselves. Notice, there is no humility in such statements, such as, "these are our tentative conclusions, at this time."

I'll conclude this way. We can't prove all these theories, and if we could, what would it do to our essential beliefs in Christ and in his Church?

I've heard it said that such sobering information should be preached from the pulpit, so that Catholics are not naive about their faith.

Let's say it once and then move on. There are scholars who doubt everything in scripture. OK, there are the exit doors, plainly marked for those who need to step outside. For the rest of us who are believers and followers of Jesus, I'm sure we would like to move on to the important matters of scripture.


#5

[quote="sirach2v4, post:4, topic:313343"]
The problem with reading that introduction to the New Testament is that it sort of slaps you in the face with things you may have never heard before, or, otherwise, are not willing to concede in such in-your-face commentary.

Please keep in mind that a substantial majority of scholars may actually subscribe to the conclusions that are presented there.

In my mind, this is all scholarly dirty laundry that they ought to keep to themselves. Notice, there is no humility in such statements, such as, "these are our tentative conclusions, at this time."

I'll conclude this way. We can't prove all these theories, and if we could, what would it do to our essential beliefs in Christ and in his Church?

I've heard it said that such sobering information should be preached from the pulpit, so that Catholics are not naive about their faith.

Let's say it once and then move on. There are scholars who doubt everything in scripture. OK, there are the exit doors, plainly marked for those who need to step outside. For the rest of us who are believers and followers of Jesus, I'm sure we would like to move on to the important matters of scripture.

[/quote]

In truth, had nothing at all been written down, would our faith change at all?


#6

The thing is, it doesn’t say that “traditional authorship of the [book of Matthew] is untenable”. Rather, it says that no single answer is universally accepted, and that, at this particular moment in time, “the majority of scholars” believes that the tradition of the Apostle Matthew writing this Gospel is “untenable.”

To use an example, if I said “the Ravens are gonna win the Super Bowl”, you might have a disagreement with me. If, on the other hand, I said, “a majority of ESPN analysts say that the Ravens are gonna win the Super Bowl”, then that’s a completely different kind of statement, and one that shouldn’t freak you out, even if your a 49ers fan…

In a recently-released translation of the NAB, I don’t think that this is too scandalous a statement. After all, they’re just reporting what scholars today think. Take it or leave it, that’s the consensus of scholarly opinion at the moment. :shrug:


#7

You're bothered by the latest trends in what is known as "textual criticism", a means of attempting to prove the authenticity, authorship, and veracity of various works - in this case, the Bible. It's interesting to see how scholars ideas and understandings change over time, but it certainly isn't inspired by God.

I suggest you ignore these sections and stick to the scripture itself, for all scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness. [2 Tim 3:16] Can't say as much for the evolving textual criticisms.


#8

Well it was pretty much covered in the responses, but I had to use the NAB when I sat through some RCIA classes. (I did this voluntarily for study as being raised Orthodox I required no such procedures). I just remember LOATHING the NAB, it's just bad Biblical scholarship. The St. Ignatius Bible which is NRSV-CE is amazing for New testament Scripture, it is associated with the well known Apologist Scott Hahn. I highly recommend it for your reading, God bless!


#9

[quote="Gorgias, post:6, topic:313343"]
The thing is, it doesn't say that "traditional authorship of the [book of Matthew] is untenable". Rather, it says that no single answer is universally accepted, and that, at this particular moment in time, "the majority of scholars" believes that the tradition of the Apostle Matthew writing this Gospel is "untenable."

To use an example, if I said "the Ravens are gonna win the Super Bowl", you might have a disagreement with me. If, on the other hand, I said, "a majority of ESPN analysts say that the Ravens are gonna win the Super Bowl", then that's a completely different kind of statement, and one that shouldn't freak you out, even if your a 49ers fan...

In a recently-released translation of the NAB, I don't think that this is too scandalous a statement. After all, they're just reporting what scholars today think. Take it or leave it, that's the consensus of scholarly opinion at the moment. :shrug:

[/quote]

Perhaps, but the "it must have been written after 70 AD because it records of prophesy of something that happened then" thing is a bit lame and to assume that the prophesy was not a prophesy. These kinds of notes also annoy me, which is one of the reasons I prefer the Douay Rheims, but when all is said and done they are just notes.


#10

From the Wiki on the "Q" source:

"Along with Markan priority, Q was hypothesized by 1900, and it is one of the foundations of modern gospel scholarship.

OK, so what does "modern" mean?

modern |ˈmädərn|
adjective
of or relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past : the pace of modern life | modern Chinese history.
• characterized by or using the most up-to-date techniques, ideas, or equipment : they do not have modern weapons.
• attrib. ] denoting the form of a language that is currently used, as opposed to any earlier form : modern German.
• attrib. ] denoting a current or recent style or trend in art, architecture, or other cultural activity marked by a significant departure from traditional styles and values : Matisse's contribution to modern art.
noun (usu. moderns)
a person who advocates or practices a departure from traditional styles or values.
DERIVATIVES
modernity |mäˈdərnitē; mə-; -ˈder-| noun
modernly adverb
modernness noun
ORIGIN late Middle English : from late Latin modernus, from Latin modo ‘just now.’

Due to the smoke of Satan entering the Church, I distrust anything "modern" except a modern reformation, which we are seeing even now.


#11

:slight_smile: Yes, of course.

Its particularly distressing to me that they all seem to call into question the traditional authorship of the new testament books. …

Yup. Although, authorship is often not a single person as we would have it today; scribes often did the actual writing of what is dictated to them, and arranged the logic accordingly.

Why does the USCCB approve an introduction that says that the Traditional authorship of the bible is untenable? And why does it folllow that Matthew had to be written after the destruction of Jerusalem. Why isn’t it possible for Our Lord to have successfully prophesized this? Don’t we believe He’s God?

Is it just me? Or do these intros seem to lack the basic faith in Jesus?

I don’t think you will find a list of bishops all giving their imprimatur, or nihil obstat to the NAB’s footnotes. I think, you’ll find at most one or two names.
I seriously doubt the majority of bishops have read the footnotes carefully in any event; and the NAB lectionary which is used in church doesn’t have them.
Also, historically, the USCCB has had problems with publishing of blatantly agenda’d documents under the auspices of a bishop who didn’t review the papers his secretaries were releasing; A pro active homosexual document came out some years ago (10+) causing quite a stir; since homosexuality as an act is forbidden, although the love of chaste men is not; (Homosexuals who do not practice can in fact stay together in the good graces of the Church.) But the document went beyond the church’s teaching.

Such abuses creep in whenever division in the church arises; and Vatican II was such a point. ( This is not restricted to that council, similar issues cropped up after every previous ecumenical councils as well.)

Historical critical scholarship is required study for all priests in the undergraduate studies (AFAIK.) This theory called JEDP has many points to recommend it – and a few serious flaws. It’s not entirely garbage – even if the majority of probability arguments are down right laughable.

Nearly all the new testament dating to after 70A.D., ( which is the whole reason for the Q theory ), is based on the historical style of apocalyptic writing. Apocalyptic writing takes past events, and projects them into the future. Much of the book of Revelation, and it’s prototypes (Daniel, Ezekiel) have apocalyptic elements; The author is not deceiving you, rather – we have forgotten, that people of the time understood that the story is not referring to a prophecy of the future, but rather – it’s a re-interpretation of history in terms of divine cause and effect.

Setting that aside, there is a flaw in the reasoning of the apocalyptic genre with respect to the fall of the temple in 70A.D.; If you find an ancient author by the name of Flavius Josephus, you will find that Jerusalem was ordered destroyed (perhaps even razed) somewhere around 38A.D(? perhaps later, but long before 70AD). – However circumstances were against the Roman fleet getting there, and the orders were rescinded because of an internal emergency arose when they were in transit.

Modern historical critical authors simply aren’t aware of this; and so assume that the first the destruction of the temple could have been predicted without miracles was just a year or two before 70A.D. However, since the fleets were already deployed once – it stands to reason that Christians who were no longer in messianic fever could figure out that no salvation would come to the Jews inside of Jerusalem.

I am not saying prophecy of the future is impossible: But I would caution you that Prophecy is often a matter of reasoning, and divine encouragement about right ways of thinking; it’s not always a mater of divine dictation of the future. Abraham foresaw Jesus through the sacrifice of Isaac; St.Paul tells us that he reasoned to the resurrection.

A prophet, first and foremost, tells people what they need to hear; not a perfect sequence of events about the future. Read Jonah, and consider Nineveh – his prophecy comes true, but not specifically as said. In the book of Tobit (which takes place in Nineveh) the prophecy is reviewed.

I don’t find Jesus’ prophecies impossible even without reasonable fore-knowledge; BUT as an apologist, it’s important to grasp all possibilities – and consider each of them. Scripture is meant to bring people to faith – and their paths often start in disbelief. Fides et ratio.


#12

The intros to the NAB must be right.
That’s exactly what they teached us a loonie-vercity.
And they learned us real good. (I even remember “Q”.)

(No. No sarcasm there.):smiley:


#13

Pray that the USCCB will get some different translators for the next and hopefully last revision of the NAB.

Do you think that pope Benedict XVI would agree with all the introductions and notes of the NABRE?

I don’t.


#14

[quote="Jerry-Jet, post:13, topic:313343"]
Pray that the USCCB will get some different translators for the next and hopefully last revision of the NAB.

Do you think that pope Benedict XVI would agree with all the introductions and notes of the NABRE?

I don't.

[/quote]

I don't either, which is why I wonder why this is the bible version listed on the USCCB website.

Like this intro to 1 Peter

Yet it is unlikely that Peter addressed a letter to the Gentile churches of Asia Minor while Paul was still alive. This suggests a period after the death of the two apostles, perhaps A.D. 70–90. The author would be a disciple of Peter in Rome, representing a Petrine group that served as a bridge between the Palestinian origins of Christianity and its flowering in the Gentile world. The problem addressed would not be official persecution but the difficulty of living the Christian life in a hostile, secular environment that espoused different values and subjected the Christian minority to ridicule and oppression.

Why is it unlikely that St. Peter addressed a letter to the Gentiles while St. Paul was alive? Why would the first Pope, hand picked by Jesus, refrain from communicating with his flock? These kind of commentaries drive me nuts.


#15

I agree 100%, which is why I always try to make sure that people are aware of all the better more traditional Catholic rescources. Those footnotes of the NAB are faith-shakers in my opinion. I spend most of my time working with Scripture, but I probably wouldn't if I believed it was a selections of forgeries and myths like those non-traditional pseudo-scholars.


#16

The NAB on the USCCB website because they own the copyright. Personally, I’d like to see them also have translations where copyright is not an issue available on their site (coughDouay-Rheimscough)


#17

[quote="Monkey1976, post:16, topic:313343"]
The NAB on the USCCB website because they own the copyright. Personally, I'd like to see them also have translations where copyright is not an issue available on their site (cough*Douay-Rheims*cough)

[/quote]

Well I think the Douay-Rheims has had its copyright expired. I may be wrong. Indeed however, the Douay Rheims is probably the best translation in english, followed by either the Knox Bible or RSV-CE (Catholic Edition).


#18

[quote="Monkey1976, post:16, topic:313343"]
The NAB on the USCCB website because they own the copyright. Personally, I'd like to see them also have translations where copyright is not an issue available on their site (cough*Douay-Rheims*cough)

[/quote]

So why don't they redo the intros so they are at least consistent with Church Tradition. Who cares what the majority of Bible scholars think? What does the Church teach. That's what should be in the intros in a bible version referenced on The USCCB website. The bishops, afterall, are responsible for teaching the flock, right?


#19

Good point.

How about we petition someone to raise a motion for a new motto for the USCCB: ? I wonder if our new bishop will be game…

“While this generation remains, we shall be Critical before certain, Lethargic before Liturgic, Popular before precise, and Copyrighted before corrected.”

However, I’m not sure you can prove they go against capital “T” tradition.
You might be able to argue sensus fideii… but not merely claim it.
:slight_smile:

If you get a complaint address to write to … share?


#20

[quote="Huiou_Theou, post:19, topic:313343"]
Good point.

How about we petition someone to raise a motion for a new motto for the USCCB: ? I wonder if our new bishop will be game....

"While this generation remains, we shall be Critical before certain, Lethargic before Liturgic, Popular before precise, and Copyrighted before corrected."

However, I'm not sure you can prove they go against capital "T" tradition.
You might be able to argue sensus fideii... but not merely claim it.
:)

If you get a complaint address to write to ... share?

[/quote]

I wonder if Cardinal Dolan, the president of the USCCB would be receptive to investigating this (or whether he simply has bigger fish to fry). I also wonder if we could agree on which parts of the introduction are at odds with tradition and good Catholic teaching.

For instance, the intro that initially got me to start this thread was the one for 1Peter :
From Irenaeus in the late second century until modern times, Christian tradition regarded Peter the apostle as author of this document. Since he was martyred at Rome during the persecution of Nero between A.D. 64 and 67, it was supposed that the letter was written from Rome shortly before his death. This is supported by its reference to “Babylon” (1 Pt 5:13), a code name for Rome in the early church.

Some modern scholars, however, on the basis of a number of features that they consider incompatible with Petrine authenticity, regard the letter as the work of a later Christian writer. Such features include the cultivated Greek in which it is written, difficult to attribute to a Galilean fisherman, together with its use of the Greek Septuagint translation when citing the Old Testament; the similarity in both thought and expression to the Pauline literature; and the allusions to widespread persecution of Christians, which did not occur until at least the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81–96). In this view the letter would date from the end of the first century or even the beginning of the second, when there is evidence for persecution of Christians in Asia Minor (the letter of Pliny the Younger to Trajan, A.D. 111–12).

Other scholars believe, however, that these objections can be met by appeal to use of a secretary, Silvanus, mentioned in 1 Pt 5:12. Such secretaries often gave literary expression to the author’s thoughts in their own style and language. The persecutions may refer to local harassment rather than to systematic repression by the state. Hence there is nothing in the document incompatible with Petrine authorship in the 60s.

Still other scholars take a middle position. The many literary contacts with the Pauline literature, James, and 1 John suggest a common fund of traditional formulations rather than direct dependence upon Paul. Such liturgical and catechetical traditions must have been very ancient and in some cases of Palestinian origin.

Yet it is unlikely that Peter addressed a letter to the Gentile churches of Asia Minor while Paul was still alive. This suggests a period after the death of the two apostles, perhaps A.D. 70–90. The author would be a disciple of Peter in Rome, representing a Petrine group that served as a bridge between the Palestinian origins of Christianity and its flowering in the Gentile world. The problem addressed would not be official persecution but the difficulty of living the Christian life in a hostile, secular environment that espoused different values and subjected the Christian minority to ridicule and oppression.

In my view, this intro concludes that contrary to 2000 years of tradition, St Peter couldn't have written this letter. And the reasoning is: Peter, the first pope, hand picked by Jesus to bring the message to the gentiles, would somehow be inhibited from writing to the gentiles because Paul was still alive. Doesn't such a view lead to two questions from the faithful?
1. If the letter isn't apostolic, why should we believe it
2. If Peter was somehow subservient to Paul in relation to the gentiles, how can the Bishop of Rome claim the primacy.

I don't see how the bishops could sanction such a view on their website and in the bibles they sell to the faithful. Am I missing something?


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