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Monday, January 28, 2008

Theology and Heresy

So we survived our first weekend of class for second semester. Today I'm off, as I have to work next Saturday and have to work at an event next Friday, and let me tell you, I'm thrilled to be off today. I can start studying, and work on getting over this terrible cold that has been my companion for a couple weeks. Seriously, this stuff is going around. First you just don't feel well, but it's just a cold so you suck it up and go on with your life. And then you think it's gone, you are joyful, and you go about your life. The next day you get up sneezing and sniffling and realize it's BACK...or is it another cold? And then, in comparing notes with others you realize it's part of the pattern of this virus.

I should have taken time off work last week, but we had so much going on that I couldn't. And then it was a class weekend. So today...bessed rest. And studying.

Now...about our class.

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE our professors this semester! They are just incredible, brilliant, and wonderful human beings. Our New Testament prof pretty much endeared himself to our class through his own passion for his work and his huge beaming smile. I'm quite certain that his smile has disarmed a good number of people throughout his life, and it certainly set our class at ease!

Our other professor is teaching two courses, in Catholic Theological Tradition and Fundamental Theology . The first is heavy on philosophy, which many of us have never studied, but the material for that class is strongly linked to the next course, we we can see clearly the interrelatedness of the material. He's just wonderful, clearly loves what he is doing and yesterday came to lunch with a group of us, where some of our theological discussions continued. He, too, often wore a big smile and so clearly loves what he is doing. So of course, he endeared himself to us, too.

That's a wonderful thing for all of our profs to do; after all, we spend hours upon hours with them in a classroom. I have to say, that with this format I already feel like I have a stronger connection to these profs than I did to my undergrad profs, just because of the seamless hours in their company. To be clear, I loved many of my undergrad profs, too, but it seemed to take longer to get to know them.

Our workload is going to be brutal, though. These profs favor quizzes and tests, which involves not writing papers, but rather, studying...a LOT! And given that some of the subjects of our studies are things that we are not familiar with (ie philosophy), well, it's going to be tough.

It should be a very good Lent for us, then, I suppose.

Anyway, while we're learning Truths, we are also being exposed to heresies, including that of modern "Catholic" scripture scholars who have dedicated their careers to denying the Catholic understanding of scripture. So it is that we as Catholics have far more in common with conservative Evangelical scripture scholars than we do with most of those who claim to be Catholic. How sad is that!? And you know, now I know that it was Raymond Brown's theology (or lack thereof) that so utterly destroyed me in college. And if I find a Raymond Brown citation in any of the books in my home, it's going to be burned at the stake.

Perhaps as time goes on and I learn more I'll post some of his postulations to get around the truth, and include the scripture references that directly and obviously refute his ideas.

So to all of you out there, watch out for this guy. Like most dissidents he can talk a good game but he does it with both fingers crossed behind his back and a cheshire smile.

We NEED good Catholic education in this country, and throughout the world, but with "theologians" such as Brown, who happen to all have a stranglehold on curriculums affecting both Catholic and Protestant, it's up to we as individuals to arm ourselves. No one is going to do it for us.


Father Schnippel said...

Happy Feast Day!

Adoro te Devote said...

Thanks! St. Thomas Aquinas actually just confirmed his patronage of me...your comment couldn't have been timed more perfectly.


I love the Saints...and their sense of humor!

Angela M. said...

Just wondering what the profs think of Scott Hahn?

Hidden One said...

Or Peter Kreeft?

Adoro te Devote said...

My NT prof has met Scott Hahn, and Scott Hahn recognized his name on his nametag as a scholar who translated a certain work. Scott Hahn is SOLID.

Peter Kreeft - highly recommended. We are using "Handbook of Christian Apologetics" by Kreeft and Tacelli for one of our classes.


Melody said...

I know that my husband had a hard time with the writings of Raymond Brown when he was taking a series of scripture classes in which Brown was required reading. He was a newbie Catholic back then; he wondered what he had gotten himself into. I was pretty turned off by Brown's take on the infancy narratives; decided that reading him wasn't going to enhance my spiritual life. Actually the "Jerome Biblical Commentary", of which he is a co-editor, has some good information in it. But it also has some stuff you wouldn't want to swallow whole; a lot of discernment is called for.

Adoro te Devote said...

Melody ~ Yup, that was the Holy Spirit talking to you both. Our prof actually mentioned his infancy narratives, and directly refuted them in class, although I didn't take notes - it was a sort of aside. And he also named the Jerome Bible Commentary as a piece of trash to avoid at all costs.

I think that his work is a tool of Satan because what does it seek to do, but to undermine the deposit of faith? Then of course our good Pope Benedict XVI comes along and writes "Jesus of Nazareth" and I suspect a good amount of that work is itself an unwitting refutation of Brown's personal deposit of faith.

Melody said...

I never think of the "Jerome Biblical Commentary" without remembering the use that one of our sons put it to when he was about six. He was mad at his brother and hurled it down the stairs at him. It is a heavy tome, fortunately his aim was bad. He got a serious time-out for that one!

adoro said...

Melody ~ You know, I have to wonder if this is a common childhood experience. I mean, the incident, not the medium used! LOL! (Although, as an aside, I'd like to take that tome and whack Brown with it a few times while scolding him, "Bad scholar! No logic in you! Study more!"

My Mom still tells this story, and it has never changed. I don't remember it, not really, but when we were kids, we watched the classics like Tom & Jerry and the like. They frequently hit each other with large objects.

Well, we had a table and folding chairs made for children, and I still remember their design and color. My brother wanted to see the stars and birds that arose from a smack to the head, so got one of those chairs. I believe I was a willing participant in this experiment.

Mom walked in just in time as my brother had raised the chair over his head and was preparing to bash it down upon me. She quite literally grabbed it in mid-swing.

Hmmm....this subject is definitely worth a post. Thanks! And come back to read it because there's more!

Angela M. said...

I am glad to hear Hahn and Kreeft are solid. I know a lot of "rad-trads" out there don't like Hahn but he has an amazing way of unpacking the scriptures. I never liked reading the bible before I read Hahn (and Kreeft's "You Can Understand the Bible."

BTW - I don't think Johnnette B. mentions Hahn. Not yet anyway.

angelmeg said...

Is one of your Profs by any chance Dr Scheck? he is my cuz.

I love him and he is very conservative and a genius (I am not boasting here just stating facts).

He also has one of the best smiles in the entire world.
Sadly he lost both his parents last fall (two months apart).

adoro said...

angelmeg ~ Yup, that's the one! He IS a genius. I'm so sorry to hear about his parents, what a horrible loss to sustain. :-(

The Ironic Catholic said...

Um, Adoro? I'm glad you're loving your classes. But Raymond Brown has never been "under the gun" of the CDF. I would be very, very careful calling him a heretic. People may disagree, even strongly, with his interpretation, but that isn't the same thing as naming a person a heretic. That's a hard accusation.

Adoro te Devote said...

I actually called him a dissident, not a heretic. I used "heretic" in the title as an attention-getter.

Although in reading philosophy I do think that his work, at least, can be referred to in the heretical sense as it often denies outright truths of our faith.

We asked in class why theologians and their work in scripture hasn't been condemned; other theologians have been censored, after all. Our prof didn't have an answer, and he shares our questions although at a much deeper level given his understanding far exceeds ours.

I'll be learning mroe over time and hope to have the time to actually post the most obvious issues as they arise.