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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 5:38 pm 
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A blatantly pro-protestant article on Bible translation in about.com claims that in 600 Rome ruled that Latin was the only language for Scripture; McSorley has no such reference, and describes to the contrary the continuation of local language translations, which had begun as early as the second century. Is there any basis for this protestant claim?
Similarly, the about.com article asserts that in 1299 a Council of Toulouse ruled that the Catholic laity could not own Bibles. McSorley has no reference to such a Council or ruling. Basis?


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Tue Oct 20, 2015 6:27 pm 
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eschator83 wrote:
A blatantly pro-protestant article on Bible translation in about.com claims that in 600 Rome ruled that Latin was the only language for Scripture; McSorley has no such reference, and describes to the contrary the continuation of local language translations, which had begun as early as the second century. Is there any basis for this protestant claim?
Similarly, the about.com article asserts that in 1299 a Council of Toulouse ruled that the Catholic laity could not own Bibles. McSorley has no reference to such a Council or ruling. Basis?



There was never any such ruling that Latin was the only language for a Bible, if there had been, then it was the most widely violated law in world history because all through the so-called "Dark Ages" and well into the early modern era, Bible translations into other languages were being done.

Translations into English were being done as early as the 8th century, see the Lindisfarne Gospels

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindisfarne_Gospels

The earliest known translations into Spanish translations come much later, but still predate the Reformation by more than 100 years.

The earliest known German translations date from the 9th century

Now, it is true that the Wycliffe translation is the first known translation English translation of the ENTIRE Bible, and that Martin Luther's is the earliest known German translation of the whole Bible.

But let's keep some important points in mind:

The vernacular languages of Europe, English, French, Spanish, German Italian etc, all developed in the early Middle Ages, they didn't exist as written languages for centuries, there was no standardized English spelling until the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a rather rapid change and development of the languages, as Old English, Middle English, and Modern English are actually separate and distinct languages that are radically different.

Moreover, and this is the most important point, before the invention of the printing press, right before the Reformation, there was no way to mass produce Bibles, and no point in doing so since the handful of people who were literate all knew Latin anyway.

In short, it's really ignorant and stupid for people to complain about a lack of vernacular translations of the Bible before the Reformation, because before the Reformation, there was no way to distribute them anyway, and no one who could read them even if there had been.

The Reformation happened right at the moment when translation into vernacular languages was just starting to become practical.


Now, about the decree that laymen were not allowed to own Bibles...

Sigh...first of all, in 1299, there were no books, the printing press had not yet been invented. There were scrolls, and laymen didn't own those anyway.

What the decree is directed at where some heretical translations that had been done by the Cathars. The translations were extremely biased and promoted heretical views. These were bad translations that were made by heretics.

99% or more of the people who make this claims "the Catholic Church banned the Bible" are people who believe in KJV-Onlyism, they insist that the KJV is the only "real" Bible, that all other Bibles are false and heretical, and that anyone who uses any other Bible is a heretic.

Surely, people who build their entire theology around the idea of avoiding "bad" Bibles, should be able to understand the principle that some translations are BAD and should be avoided.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:31 am 
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Doom wrote:
eschator83 wrote:
A blatantly pro-protestant article on Bible translation in about.com claims that in 600 Rome ruled that Latin was the only language for Scripture; McSorley has no such reference, and describes to the contrary the continuation of local language translations, which had begun as early as the second century. Is there any basis for this protestant claim?
Similarly, the about.com article asserts that in 1299 a Council of Toulouse ruled that the Catholic laity could not own Bibles. McSorley has no reference to such a Council or ruling. Basis?



There was never any such ruling that Latin was the only language for a Bible, if there had been, then it was the most widely violated law in world history because all through the so-called "Dark Ages" and well into the early modern era, Bible translations into other languages were being done.

Translations into English were being done as early as the 8th century, see the Lindisfarne Gospels

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindisfarne_Gospels

The earliest known translations into Spanish translations come much later, but still predate the Reformation by more than 100 years.

The earliest known German translations date from the 9th century

Now, it is true that the Wycliffe translation is the first known translation English translation of the ENTIRE Bible, and that Martin Luther's is the earliest known German translation of the whole Bible.

But let's keep some important points in mind:

The vernacular languages of Europe, English, French, Spanish, German Italian etc, all developed in the early Middle Ages, they didn't exist as written languages for centuries, there was no standardized English spelling until the 16th and 17th centuries, there was a rather rapid change and development of the languages, as Old English, Middle English, and Modern English are actually separate and distinct languages that are radically different.

Moreover, and this is the most important point, before the invention of the printing press, right before the Reformation, there was no way to mass produce Bibles, and no point in doing so since the handful of people who were literate all knew Latin anyway.

In short, it's really ignorant and stupid for people to complain about a lack of vernacular translations of the Bible before the Reformation, because before the Reformation, there was no way to distribute them anyway, and no one who could read them even if there had been.

The Reformation happened right at the moment when translation into vernacular languages was just starting to become practical.


Now, about the decree that laymen were not allowed to own Bibles...

Sigh...first of all, in 1299, there were no books, the printing press had not yet been invented. There were scrolls, and laymen didn't own those anyway.

What the decree is directed at where some heretical translations that had been done by the Cathars. The translations were extremely biased and promoted heretical views. These were bad translations that were made by heretics.

99% or more of the people who make this claims "the Catholic Church banned the Bible" are people who believe in KJV-Onlyism, they insist that the KJV is the only "real" Bible, that all other Bibles are false and heretical, and that anyone who uses any other Bible is a heretic.

Surely, people who build their entire theology around the idea of avoiding "bad" Bibles, should be able to understand the principle that some translations are BAD and should be avoided.


And Toulouse was a local council, concerned with local issues (the Albigensians) and related scripture, as noted. You'll find that particular silliness, compounded, in Boettner's famous "heresies and inventions" list.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:59 am 
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GKC wrote:

And Toulouse was a local council, concerned with local issues (the Albigensians) and related scripture, as noted. You'll find that particular silliness, compounded, in Boettner's famous "heresies and inventions" list.


That's true too. The entire complaint is based on anachronism, the idea that there were "books" that were mass produced and owned by laymen, in the late 13h century. Honestly, anyone who understands history knows how ridiculous that idea is.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:58 pm 
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Blessings to both of you for comments. It's disappointing and curious, to me, that McSorley makes no specific reference (that I can find) on the emergence of books, which seems to me right up there with the scientific method, electricity, and computers in changing the world.
FYI, here's part of what McSorley said (p511) about the invention of movable print (I understand printing presses themselves were developed by the Chinese c 400, but they didn't catch on much until the concept of movable print): "The invention of movable type, which occured about 1450, led to the production, first of scattered documents, a little later of a Latin grammar, and in 1456 of an edition of the Latin Vulgate... The rapid multiplication of books occasioned more vigilant censorship on the part of the authorities; Pope Sixtus IV, in a message to the University of Cologne, and Innocent VIII, in an instruction to all Bishops, urged watchfulness to prevent the printing and selling of undesirable books."
McSorley's next paragraph seems astonishing to me, reflecting his determination not to go too far into controversial issues, and trying to minimize discussion of censorship:
"The following pages describe scholars who were conspicuous in the humanist movement. and also patrons who encourged them." Is anyone anti-humanism? Personally, I would replace the next seven pages with discussion of Marian appearances, perceived miracles, and works of the Church in education, charity, and healthcare, which McSorley gives very little attention.
On the subject of books, I believe they first appeared about 400 in the middle East, when parchment and scrolls began to be replaced by animal skins (velum?) which could more reliably be sewn together as books. I can't remember offhand where I found this. I think that as scrolls were replaced by books the issue of Canonization of the Bible became critical. Does anyone know a good source on this? McSorley refers to burning of heretical books in the 400s (p124), but is not specific.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:24 pm 
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eschator83 wrote:
On the subject of books, I believe they first appeared about 400 in the middle East, when parchment and scrolls began to be replaced by animal skins (velum?) which could more reliably be sewn together as books. I can't remember offhand where I found this. I think that as scrolls were replaced by books the issue of Canonization of the Bible became critical. Does anyone know a good source on this? McSorley refers to burning of heretical books in the 400s (p124) but is not specific.



Those aren't "books" those are codices, they were hand printed and very expensive. Individual persons did not own these, they were too valuable, they were generally stored in libraries.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:26 pm 
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What distinction do you draw between a codex and a book?

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:47 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
What distinction do you draw between a codex and a book?


A book is printed and has a cover, a codex is written by hand. A book exists as an individual unit all by its lonesome, a codex is a collection of separate documents which are being stored together because they can, books are mass produced, and exist for the purpose of sale to individuals for the purpose of profit. Codices are made not mass produced, but are made one at a time, and are made to be stored in libraries or read aloud in churches, are not intended for ownership by individuals, and they are certainly never, ever, ever sold. To use the word "book" is extremely anachronistic, in the mind's eye it paints a picture of universal literacy, of bookstores and book collectors, of people going out shopping for books, or members of the laity amassing big collections of books, of people storing their book collections in a big bookcase in the living room.....using the word "books" just creates a completely false picture of what it was like.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 6:56 pm 
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Doom wrote:
Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
What distinction do you draw between a codex and a book?


A book is printed and has a cover, a codex is written by hand. A book exists as an individual unit all by its lonesome, a codex is a collection of separate documents which are being stored together because they can, books are mass produced, and exist for the purpose of sale to individuals for the purpose of profit. Codices are made not mass produced, but are made one at a time, and are made to be stored in libraries or read aloud in churches, are not intended for ownership by individuals, and they are certainly never, ever, ever sold. To use the word "book" is extremely anachronistic, in the mind's eye it paints a picture of universal literacy, of bookstores and book collectors, of people going out shopping for books, or members of the laity amassing big collections of books, of people storing their book collections in a big bookcase in the living room.....using the word "books" just creates a completely false picture of what it was like.



What would you account an early 15th or late 14th century Book of Hours?

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:49 pm 
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eschator83 wrote:
On the subject of books, I believe they first appeared about 400 in the middle East, when parchment and scrolls began to be replaced by animal skins (velum?) which could more reliably be sewn together as books. I can't remember offhand where I found this. I think that as scrolls were replaced by books the issue of Canonization of the Bible became critical. Does anyone know a good source on this? McSorley refers to burning of heretical books in the 400s (p124), but is not specific.


Parchment is made from animal skins. Vellum is specifically calfskin (like "veal").


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:54 pm 
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Mmmmmmmm ... veal.

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 2:41 pm 
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Mmmmmmmm ... veal.


I remain morally opposed to veal, until I see it on a menu :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 3:25 pm 
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Hmmm, do you suppose Obi's "appetite" might lead him to do some more reading and writing if we refer to them as codex (think veal) rather than book. I've just been looking at the Codex Sinaiticus, which has a history of intrigue almost up there with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anybody willing to share comments on either of these topics?
I'm struggling to maintain enthusiasm for Philosophy of History and trying to think through McSorley's view and practice of the subject. Can anyone recommend a good book on this?
I was recently reading stanford.edu Philosophy, which I highly recommend, and stumbled into Dan Little's article on Human Nature. When we got home from camp, some strange force led me to the cellar to see if I had Burke's Ethics (I could only find Bonhoeffer's--about which I have some deep reservations) and very curiously I found myself coming up from the cellar with Leslie Stevenson's Study of Human Nature in my hand (a gift I think I've never before looked at) and I've had my nose it almost constantly the last couple of days, going back and forth between Stevenson and the Ency Brit Great Books Syntopicon on Man, which seems a virtually overwhelming mishmash of socialist/universalist/atheist gibberish. So too perhaps Stevenson--I've stayed mostly in the Judo-Christian and Greek sections so far. Anybody reading anything Catholic about Human Nature? Are these generalizations meaningful or nonsense?
I'm still trying to digest a bit of what McSorley said about Nominalism (p317): ...denies the existence of abstract and universal concepts. Help?


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Sat Nov 07, 2015 2:34 pm 
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Although my better judgment is pressing me to wrap up this thread unless others comment on it, I keep wanting to urge that every Catholic home should have at least a brief Church History, as well as Scripture, CCC, lives of Saints, summary of Church Fathers, Prayer book, Daily Devotions, and more.
It makes me wonder what response there might be to a poll question asking how many of the above do you have at home--thanks to God we have each of them.
Three lessons from Church history I think are critical, but haven't yet found a very good way to express and defend them:
1-Universalism is always a disastrous goal. Government is best when local, and limited.
2-Religions cannot, must not govern. God gave us freedom, but encouraged formation of governments; government must use force, churches must not.
3-The historic Christian (and Catholic) conflict between mysticism and rationalism gravely threatens the Church. Both are essential elements of our faith.
I suspect I'll keep searching McSorley for support and further comment, but hope someone will suggest other sources.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:25 pm 
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At the bottom of page 1125, which is an appendex summarizing the first 20 General Councils, the following appears which is referred to as a Memory Verse:
Ni-co-eph, Chal-co-co, Ni-co, La-la-la-la
Li-li-vi, Co-ba-la, Tri-vat
I don't think there is any further explanation--anybody know what it is about.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Wed Nov 11, 2015 9:45 pm 
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A list of general councils. Ni(caea)-Co(nstantinople) etc.


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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Thu Nov 12, 2015 1:09 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: J McSorley's Outline History of the Church
PostPosted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 9:36 am 
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I'm still muddling through my impressions of whether McSorley's philosophy of history (whatever it is) made him reluctant to express his own views about the most important lessons from Church history. I've been intermittently comparing McSorley's comments with those in the Bokenkotter history (see prior posts), and also with Richard McBrien's generally critical, even caustic, Lives of the Popes.
This morning, for the first time in at least a couple years, I dragged out my EPIC Study Set (the Church History by Weidenkopf and Schreck) and my 2010 notes from our study group in a local parish. I highly recommend EPIC, but still I'm troubled that all four of these histories seem to make very little effort to express and document the contributions of the Church in our Christian culture beyond reference to the early Renaissance (and escape from the dark ages), which McSorley seems to attribute as much to the rediscovery of Greek and Roman philosophy from orthodox and Arab sources as to Catholic efforts.
Is it only in books on lives of the Saints that we can find celebration of Church contributions? Can you suggest other more celebratory histories? I have enjoyed several histories of the Church in the Americas, and also Fr W Paradis' Upon This Granite, an excellent history of the Church in NH, but again, there is not much celebration here either of Church contributions.


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