Saturday, January 05, 2013

"Call Me Maybe" Meets Women Priests

Carla Rae Jepson's "Call Me Maybe," has sparked a number of take-offs and covers, none more amusing than this:
The Lyrics:
(Stanza 1)
I had a dream as a girl, | It wasn't a divine vision.
like Therese of Lisieux | Her visions also weren't from God.
I need to give this a whirl | Such a serious "reform," this.
So I can lead the way | Unlike Therese, by the way, who (it seems) mainly wanted to be left alone.

Woman priest is my call | All Christians are priests, although I realize that's not what you mean.
Women preaching for all | Women aren't called to be preachers.
Don't listen to St. Paul | Paul spoke what Jesus revealed.  Why not just say, "Don't listen to God"?
Cause I can lead the way | We will see.

(Chorus 1)
My ministry's growing | How is that?  Numerically? It's not growing in reverence for Scripture.
Excommunication? I'm still glowing | Excommunications aren't infallible, naturally, and they can be reversed - look at SSPX.
M. Div. Chasuble Flowing | Chasuble is a robe worn during the mass, for Protestants who don't know.  And getting an M. Div. doesn't qualify one for the ministry.
Where d'you think the church is going? | That's an interesting question. It could go almost any direction.  Look at SSPX.

(Chorus 2)
Hey, I was baptized | This appeal to Baptism is interesting.  The point, I guess, is that Baptism is unremovable.
and this is crazy | We can agree on that.
But God just called me | No, he didn't.
So ordain a lady | This would follow from the premise, but the premise is wrong.

(Chorus 3)
Justice doesn't look right | She's referring to the modern concept of "social justice." It's one of those "red flag" words that you're dealing with a non-traditionalist Roman Catholic.
with only male priests | What about only male husbands and fathers?
but God just called me | (see chorus 2)
So ordain a lady | Why should the appearance of social justice be a good enough reason?

(repeat of chorus 2)

(Chorus 4)
All the other churches, | My church isn't interested in ordain women preachers, miss.  She points to an Episcopalian church sign.  Interestingly, the Anglicans narrowly avoided women bishops, although they have women priests.
try to schmooze me, | We'd like to evangelize you, but not have you come preach for us.
but I'm a Catholic, | You're a Roman Catholic by baptism and confirmation (and as to a number of beliefs), but you're exommunicated.
so ordain a lady | Is this because otherwise you might leave?  I think the current leadership might be ok with that.

(Stanza 2)
My call is a fact, | No, it's your imagination.
But some pope in a hat | Why do you want authority in your church, if you think so little of authority in your church? But I will certainly agree that there is not (to my knowledge) any recent infallible papal teaching on the subject.
closed discussion on that | But you don't just want discussion - you demand a change of policy.
and now he's in my way | He is an obstacle to you fulfilling your desires.

I pray, sing and I feel | Bragging about one's devotion is never wise.
at first communion its real | Does your excommunication also feel real?  Do the illicit women masses feel real?   I guess the point is just more of insisting that she's a "good Catholic."
but I refuse to kneel | let her finish the clause ...
to Patriarchy's way | Do those prayers include the "our Father"? Why not submit to patriarchy, given that you recognize it is the teaching of Scripture?

(repeat of chorus 2)
(repeat of chorus 3)
(repeat of chorus 2)
(repeat of chorus 4)

(Chorus 5)
With women priests in my life | When exactly was this?
I was so glad | That concern about the sex of your priests doesn't look very "social justice" friendly, by the way.
I miss them so bad | Should I offer my condolences?
I miss them so so bad | Just because they were not male?

(Chorus 6)
With women priests in my life | (see chorus 5)
I was so glad | (see chorus 5)
We want our church back | It is interesting how every sub-group within Rome thinks Rome belongs to them. If it's not going their way politically, the church has been stolen from them.  Compare the similar comments from the ultra-traditionalists.
We want it all, all back | I assume this is just repetition for the sake of fitting the tune.

(repeat of chorus 3)
(repeat of chorus 2)
(repeat of chorus 4)
(repeat of chorus 5)
(repeat of chorus 6)

Note on the credits.  It's interesting that it happens that the editor, with his name at the top of the credits, is a male.  There is also at least two male dancers augmenting the nine or so young ladies and one baby who has a "Mommy for Pope" shirt one, while his mother(?) dances with him wearing some kind of mitre.

The video appears to have been shot at St. Thomas Episcopal Church (mentioned in the credits) in Washington, DC, despite the supposed resistance to "shmoozing" by other churches.  While the group that produced this video is relatively small and silly, they are serious - and they are not alone amongst self-identifying Roman Catholics.


Friday, January 04, 2013

The Daughters of Zelophehad and the Limits of Patriarchy

The daughters of Zelophehad present one of the first instances we have in Scripture of the limits of patriarchy. In case you have forgotten:
Numbers 26:33
And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

Joshua 17:3
But Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, had no sons, but daughters: and these are the names of his daughters, Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

1 Chronicles 7:15
And Machir took to wife the sister of Huppim and Shuppim, whose sister's name was Maachah;) and the name of the second was Zelophehad: and Zelophehad had daughters.

Numbers 27:1-11
Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah.
And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying, "Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the Lord in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons. Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father."
And Moses brought their cause before the Lord.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, "The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father's brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren. And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it:" and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the Lord commanded Moses.
Obviously, one key point to notice here is that patriarchy is the default, with the case of the daughters of Zelophehad providing an exception to the general rule.

The general rule is that the son inherits, not the daughters. Thus, the inheritance stays within the male-defined family. Nevertheless, if there are no male descendants, if the daughters cannot inherit, the male's name would be cut off. Thus, similar to the levirate law (for raising up heirs to childless men) the daughters of Zelophehad provision permits daughters to inherit for/from their father when they don't have any brothers.

The law did not immediately jump to the father's brethren (although it goes there next), but note that if there are no brethren, it does not go to his sister(s), it goes to his nearest kinsman (which might be the husband of one of his sisters, but it might not be).  In addition to the obvious benefit to the daughters of Zelophehad, this law made levirate marriage unnecessary in the case where men died without male heirs - there was no need to raise up an heir by proxy, because the daughters could be heirs.

However, this provision for women to inherit in certain cases could lead to a potential problem. After all, unlike the levirate law situation, the daughters are not receiving a son via a proxy marriage, instead they are receiving land that will permit them to marry. But what if they marry a non-Israelite or a member of another tribe?  The land could get redistributed away from a tribe, if that were the case.

Thus, in Numbers 36, further clarification came:
Numbers 36:1-13
And the chief fathers of the families of the children of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of the sons of Joseph, came near, and spake before Moses, and before the princes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel: and they said, "The Lord commanded my lord to give the land for an inheritance by lot to the children of Israel: and my lord was commanded by the Lord to give the inheritance of Zelophehad our brother unto his daughters. And if they be married to any of the sons of the other tribes of the children of Israel, then shall their inheritance be taken from the inheritance of our fathers, and shall be put to the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall it be taken from the lot of our inheritance. And when the jubile of the children of Israel shall be, then shall their inheritance be put unto the inheritance of the tribe whereunto they are received: so shall their inheritance be taken away from the inheritance of the tribe of our fathers."
And Moses commanded the children of Israel according to the word of the Lord, saying, "The tribe of the sons of Joseph hath said well. This is the thing which the Lord doth command concerning the daughters of Zelophehad, saying, 'Let them marry to whom they think best; only to the family of the tribe of their father shall they marry.' So shall not the inheritance of the children of Israel remove from tribe to tribe: for every one of the children of Israel shall keep himself to the inheritance of the tribe of his fathers. And every daughter, that possesseth an inheritance in any tribe of the children of Israel, shall be wife unto one of the family of the tribe of her father, that the children of Israel may enjoy every man the inheritance of his fathers. Neither shall the inheritance remove from one tribe to another tribe; but every one of the tribes of the children of Israel shall keep himself to his own inheritance."
Even as the Lord commanded Moses, so did the daughters of Zelophehad: for Mahlah, Tirzah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Noah, the daughters of Zelophehad, were married unto their fathers brothers' sons: and they were married into the families of the sons of Manasseh the son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of the family of their father.
These are the commandments and the judgments, which the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses unto the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
Thus, the daughters of Zelophehad were generally permitted to marry whomever they wished, but were restricted to marry within their tribe. They ended up marrying their first cousins, which maintained the land within their grandfather's line.

Notice that the tribal affiliation was determined by the father as the general rule. However, also notice that the rule for the daughters of Zelophehad was not the general rule.

In other words, there was no general requirement that men only give their daughters to their fellow tribesmen.  Thus, we see Elizabeth and Mary in the New Testament being described as related, even though Elizabeth was married to a priest from the tribe of Levi, and Mary was married to Joseph, of the tribe of Judah.  Likewise, women generally were not free to marry whomever they wished.  Thus, we see the daughter of Jephthah mourning her single state in Judges, when her father "sacrifices" her evidently by prohibiting her from marrying anyone at all.

Thus, we should not misinterpret the case of the daughters of Zelophehad as some mandate for "racial purity" or call to near incest: it was about maintaining tribal land within the male-defined tribes.

Likewise, we should not misinterpret the case of the daughters of Zelophehad as suggesting that the general rule was that daughters married whoever they wanted. It is abundantly clear from the remainder of the law that the ordinary situation was that the father of daughters decided who they would marry.

The daughters of Zelophehad presented a unique case because their immediate patriarchy had, in God's providence, been destroyed. They had no father and no brother.

It is interesting to note that in this case, however, the daughters of Zelophehad were not simply handed over the trusteeship of their nearest kinsman. Rather, the death of their father and the absence of any brethren left them independent until marriage, like a widow or divorced woman was.

Thus, while patriarchy is a very important and central aspect of the administration of Israel, it is not absolute. Women were always under the rule of the male elders (in terms of tribal rule), but within the context of family rule, they were not always under the rule of men.


Where Does Moses Prophesy of Jesus' Coming?

Ijaz Ahmad posted an item where claims to he "broke" a missionary who couldn't answer his question about where Moses prophesies of Jesus' coming. There are doubtless many ways in which Moses pointed to Jesus' coming. The most obvious and explicit one is this:
Deuteronomy 18:15-19
The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; according to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
But there are many more ways in which Moses prophesied of Jesus' coming. The entire sacrificial and Levitical system pointed forward to Jesus (the unspotted Lamb of God) and the need for Jesus to come and serve as a sacrifice for his people.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

BTR: Canon Debate: Is the Deuterocanon/Apocrypha God's word? 01/05 by HealingXJWS | Blog Talk Radio

The following is a link to a debate I will (Lord Willing) be doing this coming Saturday, January 5, 2013: BTR: Canon Debate: Is the Deuterocanon/Apocrypha God's word? 01/05 by HealingXJWS | Blog Talk Radio.

I previously debated William Albrecht on this question, and so I hope to spend some time this week leading up to the debate reviewing that previous debate in preparation for this Saturday's debate.

Apparently there will be an opportunity for audience participation during/after the debate. I hope Roman Catholics will take the opportunity to call in with any questions they may have.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

William Webster and the Canon of the Old Testament

William Webster has published a very helpful and well-researched booklet (187 pp.) entitled, "The Old Testament Canon and the Apocrypha."  The book is organized into three sections (chapters):
  1. The Canon of the Jews
  2. From the Jews to Jerome
  3. From Jerome to the Reformation
Webster synthesizes a number of other writers, including the excellent work of Roger Beckwith.

In the first section, Webster explains that the Jewish canon of Scripture was 22 or 24 books (depending on how you count them), which correspond to the 37 books of the "Protestant" Old Testament.  Webster demonstrates this from ancient Jewish witnesses, including the New Testament, Josephus, Philo, the Babylonian Talmud, Ecclesiasticus (LXX version), 1 Maccabees, Latin IV Esdras (2 Esdras in the NRSV), and the Essene book of Jubliees.  This witness is confirmed as being the Jewish canon by Christian writers such as Jerome, Augustine, and Origen.   Webster also explains how Aquila's and Theodotian's translations provide evidence of the 22/24/37 book canon. The New Testament confirmation for this includes, Jesus use of Abel to Zecharias, which appears to confirm the 22 book order, which begins with Genesis (Abel) and ends with 2 Chronicles (Zacharias):
Luke 11:51
From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

Matthew 23:35
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Webster also point that there was also already a three-fold division of the text by that time: the books of Moses, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa also referred to as "the Psalms" because that was by far the largest book of the group.  This three-fold division is seen in the New Testament in various places, such as especially:
Luke 24:44
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Webster takes time to explain the problems with the argument from the inclusion of some apocrypha in the three ancient great codices of Vaticanus,  Sinaiticus, and Alexandrinus.  Some RC apologists will argue that the inclusion of apocrypha in those codices show that the works were part of "the Septuagint " and that they were therefore generally accepted as inspired Scripture by the Alexandrian Jews and Christians.

Webster notes that those codices do include Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Judith, and Tobit, but that when it comes to the books of the Maccabees, Vaticanus omits the books, Sinaiticus includes books 1 and 4, and Alexandrinus includes all four of the books, and additionally the apocryphal book known as the Psalms of Solomon.

Webster also reminds the reader that Josephus used the Septuagint of his day and held to the shorter 22 book canon.  Similarly, one assumes that Philo (from Alexandria) used the Septuagint, but likewise has a shorter canon.

Webster points out that the discovery of ancient Essene materials at Qumran is not the silver bullet that RC apologists seem to think.  While it did provide some substantiation for the theory that some of the LXX books had a Semitic archetype, it did not do the same for others, and more significantly confirmed that the book of Jubilees was present in that community.

Webster cites Beckwith, who points out that the probability is that the Essenes, Pharisees, and Sadducees all had the same canon.  Some people (even some fathers) mistakenly believed that the Sadducees held only to the Pentateuch, either by confusing them with the Samaritans, or perhaps misunderstanding a portion of Josephus' writings that describe Sadducean rejection of Pharasaic (alleged) oral tradition.

Webster also refers to the objection that allegedly there are quotations from or allusions to the Apocrypha.  Interestingly, though, the only apocryphal work that arguably is assigned prophetic character in the New Testament would be 1 Enoch, a work that the Jews never considered canonical, and which the RCs likewise do not consider canonical.

The rebuttal that some of the OT books likewise are not quoted as authoritative in the New Testament cannot serve as a legitimate rebuttal, even though it is true that not every OT book is quoted as authoritative in the New Testament.  We do not say that a book has to be quoted int he New Testament to be authoritative.  Our comments regarding the absence of such quotations of the Apocrypha is evidence that confirms that the Palestinian Jewish Apostles and our Palestinian Jewish Lord agreed with the other Palestinian Jews about the canon.

The second section of the book relates to the early church up to Jerome. Webster explains the complexity of the situation with respect to the canon of Scripture. Specifically, he explains that the Eastern Church held to a more nuanced view and generally to the shorter 22 canon, with the exception of Origen. Origen, nevertheless, is a testimony to the fact that the Jews held to the shorter canon as discussed above. Clement and Cyril of Jerusalem are two examples of eastern fathers who have a shorter canon. Athanasius of Alexandria is another example.

Webster seems to think that the Western church, however, generally accepted a longer canon. However, even then, there were exceptions, such as Hilary of Poitiers. Rufinus and Jerome, in the West, are the last two examples of Western fathers (to the time of Jerome) who held to be shorter canon. Although the Council of Rome did seem to reject Amos and Obadiah they apparently accepted all of the deuterocanonical works that are accepted by Roman Catholics today. Adding to the complexity of the situation, is the fact that the term as dress could referred to several different books. Finally, Webster points outside until the Council of Trent. There was no definitive allegedly infallible list of books in the last.

In the third section, Webster begins from Jerome (giving Jerome a little bit of double coverage) and discusses the church from Jerome to the time of the Reformation. Webster's claim may seem a little surprising:
The overall practice of the Western Church with respect to the canon from the time of Jerome (early fifth century) until the Reformation was to follow the judgment of Jerome. The apocryphal books were accorded a deuterocanonical status, but were not regarded as canonical in the strict sense. That is, they were not accepted as authoritative for the establishing of doctrine but were used for the purpose of edification. Thus, the Church retained the distinctions established by Jerome, Rufinus and Athanasius of ecclesiastical and canonical books.
Webster provides evidence from Strabo et al.'s Glossa Ordinaria.

Webster documents a litany of post-Jerome Western theologians who held to a shorter canon, including many luminaries:

(see the endnotes here, for documentation of these assertions)

Webster also points out that the edition of the Bible printed by Cardinal Ximines and approved by Pope Leo X, followed Jerome and included all of Jerome's prologues, including those identifying the apocrypha as extra-canonical.

Webster's work in regard to documenting the existence of the shorter canon of Scripture down through history is notable, but is not the first such effort.  The great Anglican bishop of Durham, John Cosin, provided "A Scholastical History of the Canon of the Holy Scripture," which was first published in 1657.  The works of the editor in attempting to verify and document Cosin's citations in the edition from Cosin's works (linked above) was itself an enormous effort.

I believe that Webster probably was at least partially reliant on Cosin in locating some of the many testimonies of the medieval authors.  The result of Cosin's and Webster's work, however, is quite impressive.

And it is by no means exhaustive.  In a later post we may explore at least one area where Webster's research can be augmented.

- TurretinFan