What If...

I just read Fahrenheit 451 a while back, which kind of really got me thinking:

What if something similar to what happens in the book - in a world where books are banned, a group of people learn texts by memorizing them and keeping it their head - occurs in the future? What then would happen to the Bible - or to be more exact, to the people who value it as a written text? Suppose that something happens years from now which would necessitate that the biblical text be handed in pretty much the same way as the Vedas are (by very complex systems of oral memorizations), I wonder what repercussions would that have for Christianity in general, especially considering that the Scriptures up to now have mainly been handed down in written form?

I’d like to see people’s take on this.

Lectio divina would reach its fulfillment.

-Tim-

The Internet is our friend. :smiley:

Many believe in Sola Scriptura, but this case illustrates that the Church is key.

We have had time in the Church’s history, like that when the teachings of Christ were in the oral form, before they were all written down. The Church still existed. We have also had times when Bibles have been burned. The Church went on.

We have God’s promise, burned Bibles or not, he would be with us till the end of time. So, we must not worry about that, or anything else, but have faith and trust in God that not even the gates of hell will withstand against his Church!

Its like that movie The Book of Eli. He memorizes the Bible to regurgitate it for it to be rewritten down.

I think this idea wants me to spend a lot more time memorizing in Lectio Divina! LOL

Blessings!

Well it kind of happened before. The Scriptures weren’t written down for years(centuries in the case of some OT books) after the events related in them but were passed on in the oral tradition and have come down to us quite nicely. In fact the hebrew of some of the books in the OT is wonderful to hear aloud and i am told that there are Mnemonic devices littered throughout the OT as well.

Do you remember that we are told that when you are brought in front of some to give witness of your faith, no to worry because **the Holy Spirit will teach you **in that moment what to say. Therefore to memorize the Bible is like not believing in the Holy Spirit and its power. It is true that we should study to be able to teach and rebuke, but not always will be like that. When the Holy Spirit will dwell in all there will not be need to study any more, because he will give us light into everything even powers over nature to control it.

“I write this to you about those who would deceive you; but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.” 1 Jn 2:26-28

and again:

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you."Jn 14:26

But why it is not like this now?

“And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light,** because their deeds were evil. **” Jn 3:19

Therefore follows:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

And if we keep His commandments then he will do something for us:

And I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.” Jn 14:15-17

In the love of Christ who taught us the truth,
Gloria

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My guess is that history would sort of repeat itself, and the sacred texts would be hidden, buried and so on. There would probably be a lot of memorizing and passing on orally. I would hide what I could.

I suppose in regards to “Vedus” you’d have Sacred Tradition and nothing else?

I’d rather have ST than someone who knew the KJV by memorizing a bible in braille. Although Eli was a fascinating character.:blush:

The holy scripture is a subset of Tradition put to writing. So even if every bible were destroyed we would still be guided by the Church through Her traditions and apostolic authority, ecclessial infallibility, indefectibility, etc. They are sufficient. This is one of the things that makes Catholicism so attractive. It does not matter how smart you are, or how much scripture you can memorize, or how well you understand the details. You can be as dumb as a brick and have just as much of an opportunity at salvation, because the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ is the “Holy Way” as revealed by God.

Isa. 35:8,54:13-17 - In the Old Testament, the Church is described as a Holy Way, free from error.

Acts. 9:2; 22:4; 24:14,22 - In the New Testament, the Church is the “Way” from Isaiah where fools will not err therein.

Part of the reason why ancient Indians were so scrupulous about handing down the Vedas accurately is because they believed that the verses and passages (mantras) had inherent power: mispronounce even a single syllable and the whole thing would lose its effect. The sound is deemed important, which is why they went to great lengths to develop systems of chanting like this.

To give a counter-example, I’d point out the so-called Kakure Kirishitan (Hidden Christians) of Japan. These are basically the Christian converts who were driven into hiding their faith after Christianity was outlawed in Japan. They continued to practice their faith in secret, but in many cases their beliefs degenerated into some sort of syncretic ancestor worship (the ancestors, in this case, being the martyrs) that has more resemblance with folk Japanese Buddhism and Shinto than Christianity. (In fact, not all of the ‘Hidden Christians’ rejoined Catholicism after religious freedom was re-established.)

The ‘Hidden Christians’ also used oral tradition to pass down prayers and teachings, but unlike the Indians, they were less successful: prayers and hymns (orasho) originally in languages like Latin, Spanish and Portuguese (the language of the missionaries) - with some occasional Japanese thrown in - became ‘degraded’ to meaningless, mantra-like gibberish; in fact, they became treated like mantras: the sound became more important over the meaning of the words. I should also mention their retelling of the Bible: in one particular version (the Tenchi Hajimari-no-Koto), Joseph is non-existent, Pontius and Pilate are two separate individuals who act as lackeys to king Herod (the main bad guy), the Ave Maria is supposedly named because it was composed on the banks of the Abe River, and Mary (Maruya) herself is an inhabitant of Luzon (Philippines - where many of the missionaries came) who finally becomes the third person of the Trinity (= the Holy Spirit) after her Assumption (!)

“In the beginning Deusu Deus = ‘God’] was worshiped as Lord of Heaven and Earth, and Parent of humankind and all creation. Deusu has 200 ranks and 42 forms, divided the light that was originally one and made the Sun Heaven and twelve other heavens. The names of these heavens are Benbo or Hell, Manbo, Oribeten, Shidai, Godai, Pappa, Oroha, Konsutanchi, Hora, Koroteru, and a hundred thousand Paraiso and Gokuraku.”

But here’s the catch. Even if we hid copies, it’s not like they would last forever in the ground or even the attic. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls weren’t exactly in pristine condition when they were found - many of them were really just bits and scraps that took long to piece together and longer to be made public.

My naughty side wonders: what if the only surviving copy of the Bible people find was the Good News Translation? Or (gasp) the New World Translation? :smiley:

My take is that with translations you already have an ongoing corruption of the faith. Christianity was preserved for thousands of years by dedicated monks who took painstaking efforts to reproduce what they were themselves reading. Wasn’t the perfect solution as many handwritten errors crept in, but there were enough “copies” made so that a consolidation could be made right before the printing press and fewer errors would occur going forward. Take away the written word and the principle of entropy would apply even faster than translations.

I attended a seminar where the instructor conducted an experiment with two teams of ten people each. He would whisper two sentences of a business situation to the first person who would in turn whisper to the second, who would in turn whisper to a third. The tenth person would state what he heard to the entire class. It was funny as heck as both tenth persons not only heard a different story than the first but each other as well. And that was all in English. Imagine what a translation into a foreign language would be like. Actually we don’t have to imagine this at all. We already have over 200 English Bibles and around 1000 Bible translations. And 30,000 Protestant denominations to boot with only the name of Christ being common.

[size=7]O[/size]ral Tradition :smiley:

What do you mean!!! We would be able to use proof texts to base our theology on.!!! We wouldn’t be able to quote chapter and verse numbers anymore!!! Sola Scriptura wouldn’t exist anymore! :eek::eek::eek: What would we do???:slight_smile:

Well I was going with the hypothetical situation of “in a
world where books are banned, a group of people learn
texts by memorizing them and keeping it their head.”

I would trust that if God cared at all that in a world where
books where banned, that the Holy Spirit would guide us
in Oral Tradition (by memory). I seem to recall someone
called Ezra who rewrote the whole Torah as the Israelites
journeyed back from Babylon. I think the Holy Spirit had
a hand in this.

Also, when we recall the origin of the Septuagint, seventy-
-two Jewish scribes in Alexandria each composed a Greek
translation of the Jewish Holy Writings, each on their own.
When they were all done, they found that they were all the
same. Holy Spirit perhaps?

Nah, that’s just a legend. :wink: According to the earliest version of the story, it was the Torah they were supposed to be translating (it’s basically Christians’ fault that the idea that they were translating the whole OT began to spread), and they finished in exactly seventy-two days. Nothing about them being locked in separate rooms or churning out identical translations as the version in the Talmud has it: in fact, “they met together daily in the place which was delightful for its quiet and its brightness and applied themselves to their task. And it so chanced that the work of translation was completed in seventy-two days, just as if this had been arranged of set purpose.”

I attended a seminar where the instructor conducted an experiment with two teams of ten people each. He would whisper two sentences of a business situation to the first person who would in turn whisper to the second, who would in turn whisper to a third. The tenth person would state what he heard to the entire class. It was funny as heck as both tenth persons not only heard a different story than the first but each other as well. And that was all in English. Imagine what a translation into a foreign language would be like. Actually we don’t have to imagine this at all. We already have over 200 English Bibles and around 1000 Bible translations. And 30,000 Protestant denominations to boot with only the name of Christ being common.

Ah, the so-called 'telephone game’ (or ‘Chinese whispers’). The telephone game is actually often used as a textbook analogy when discussing oral tradition and how it could change in the process of transmission, something which detractors of Christianity usually latch on to. They argue that just like the message, perhaps the original message of Jesus got distorted along the way. Granted though, the analogy has its weaknesses.

Gotta go, folks. Feel free to continue the discussion.

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