[quote=BayCityRickL]My copy of the Catechism is the first edition of the modern catechism that came out in the early nineties. It has a preface by Pope John Paul II that it was developed by bishops, (biblical) exegetes, scholars, and others and reflects the magisterium of the Church. Better to read it yourself than just this thumbnail.
My criticism of Fr. Brown is based on my own readings, generally. But, briefly, Brown is especially convinced that lots of scripture is fiction, for example, the creation stories in Genesis. This is specifically over-ruled by paragraph 390 of the Catechism.
Brown had a heavy hand in the New Jerome Biblical Commentary. There’s a chapter on the idea that we don’t really know the historical Jesus. We only know the Jesus of faith, from heavily edited New Testament writings. Well, this betrays the old quote from St. Jerome himself that to know the Scriptures is to know Jesus.
In the chapter on modern trends in biblical analysis, Brown praises Rudolf Bultmann as the greatest theologian of the twentieth century. In fact, Erdmann’s History of Christianity also praises Bultmann. Bultmann is credited for the idea that the New Testament is all mythology. Bultman specifically and notoriously rejects the resurrection. Brown himself describes Bultmann as an agnostic in the book Biblical Reflections on Crises Facing the Church (about 1974 or 1975). I call Brown an agnostic because he seems so cozy with Bultmann, and he seems relentlessly to attacking patristic biblical interpretation.
Brown was undoubtedly a very educated man. In the Reflections book and the Commentary he is studious about presenting the official statements about scripture from the church. Then, he simply plows through all the conventional ideas, to dispel them.
For example, in his book 101 questions and answers about the Bible, Brown goes into length to show how the nativity narratives of the New Testament gospels are contrived. He says they’re all fiction. They simply were written to “fulfill” all the prophecies of the Hebrew scriptures. This idea is generally overruled by the Catechism around paragraph 1550, give or take 25 paragraphs. The Catechism is reviewing and marveling in the details we have of Christ’s nativity.
In the Issues book, he discusses the idea of female ordination. He makes the profound idea that the Bible simply means what one wants it to mean. And, therefore, he presents actually three possible interpretations of scripture to fit the pro- , con-, and whatever the third position was. For one, they all can’t be valid. Second, JPII came down on the con - side around 1994, thus sort of squashing the other viewpoints Brown.
In brief, the issue is magisterium. Brown laments that the Pontifical Biblical Commission is scholarly, but not magisterial. One must simply and profoundly compare the catechism with anything Brown has said.
Things that “scholars” like Brown puts forth are simply arguments, not conclusions of the Church, even if his books have imprimaturs and nihil obstats in them.
Well done post BCRick – and a simple internet search will turn up a great deal of interest on Fr. Brown, together with many Catholic periodicals who discuss the “problems”. Suffice to say, he is best described as highly controversial, and there is as much con as there is pro about him.