Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Part III of my Response of my Response to Centuri0n on Christmas

This is the third part of a series of responses to post by Centuri0n. If you haven't read the first two posts in the series, you should really read those first (part 1) (part 2).

In this part, I'll address Centuri0n's contention that: "Here's a short list of things that we have to stop doing if we have to stop doing all the things "Rome" does to make sure we don't confuse people about what the Gospel is: -- stop calling our list of holy books "the Bible"."

I had pointed out that:

a) "there is already a relatively clear notion in the public's mind that the "Protestant Bible" and the "Catholic Bible" are two different things. No real concern of confusion there."


b) "Also, there is a problem that there is not really a substitute word in English. We could use the term "Scriptures" but that word is also used by the Catholics."

Minor Quibbles
With respect to (a), Centuri0n pointed out that few printed editions of the Bible specify "Catholic" on the cover (and, he could have pointed out, even fewer specify "Protestant" on the cover). I suppose he may be right about the statistics, but I don't think they particularly help him. The reason that the various Bibles are not labeled with "Catholic" and "Protestant" is that the consumers know the difference. They are typically labeled with a translation name (the "NASB" or "KJV" etc.), which ends up being a proxy for whether the translation is Catholic or Protestant.

With respect to (b), Centuri0n argues that we could simply call ours the "Holy Book." But (a) Catholics already sometimes call Scripture that (see here), so Centuri0n's uncreative alternative label would not help.

Furthermore, it was Protestants popularized the English word "Bible" over the Latin word "Biblia." It was Protestants in England that championed placing the Bible in the Vulgar tongue. In other words, the label was a Protestant label to begin with. The fact that Catholics have adopted the same label for their book (rather than simply translating Biblia Sacra into English) is hardly a compelling reason to change our label.

Major Disagreement

More importantly, the comparison between Christmas and the Bible is non-analogous. I was not suggesting that we should keep a holy day of obligation on December 25, but call it "Jesus' Birthday Party." I was suggesting that we should feel free to disregard December 25 entirely. I think Christians should also feel free to call the Bible the "Holy Book" as you point out, and that we would be rank legalists to insist that it must be called "The Bible," in order to capture conventional public sentiment associated with the word "Bible."

In other word, the attempted reduction to absurdity only demonstrates a similar analytic disconnect to that set forth in part 1 of this series.

May God be glorified,


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