Readings

First Reading:                       Isaiah 11:1-10

Responsorial Psalm:           Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (cf. 7)

Second Reading:                 Romans 15:4-9

Alleluia:                                 Luke 3:4, 6

Gospel:                                  Matthew 3:1-12

 

Commentary

These Personal Notes are so at odds with the Teaching Magisterium that they are unsuited for use in ordinary parish life.  The problem is that I see the Church in crisis that the Teaching Magisterium does not see or will not admit.  If the Teaching Magisterium ever admits the crisis,[1] these Notes may have a value in the spirit of John Cardinal Newman, who also had a problem with the Teaching Magisterium.  Cardinal Newman was beatified Sunday, September 19, as I compose these Notes.  

I am a member of the John Henry Cardinal Newman Honorary Society, associated with the Newman Clubs, not the other politically conservative organization with a similar name.  I have kept a bust of Cardinal Newman in my study for the past fifty years.  Despite what the papacy may be saying, there was tension with how Newman saw things.[2]

Like these Notes, Jesus also had a problem with the religious establishment.  Just as Jesus first came for the Israelites, so do these Notes come first for Roman Catholics.  Just as Jesus always had in mind those who were not Israelites, so do these Notes always have in mind those who are not Roman Catholic.  The basic problem seems to be that for thirty years I made my living teaching critical-thinking as a college professor, yet the Teaching Magisterium penalizes such thinking.

Consideration of Isaiah 11:1-10 is about the messiah turning the world upside down.  Critical thinking is fundamental to such change.  The messiah rescuing “the afflicted when he has no one to help him” (Psalm 72:12) requires critical thinking about the status quo, that is, about things as they now are.  How it may happen that the messiah “will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name” also requires critical thinking.  John the Baptist calling for repentance in the Gospel is about critical thinking for the present Teaching Magisterium crisis.  The local Sunday Daily Press reported that ten thousand people demonstrated against Pope Benedict XVI, in London trying to call attention to the fact that there is an unacknowledged crisis for the current Teaching Magisterium.[3] 

So, the crisis is real.  Is anyone reporting the true crisis to the Pope or has he turned a blind eye to truth?  Keeping Cardinal Bernard Law in his prominent position at the Vatican belies the claims of regret of the abuse cover-up by His Holiness.

 

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Annotated Bibliography

Material above the double line draws from material below the double line.  Those uninterested in scholarly and tangential details should stop reading here.  If they do, however, they may miss some interesting material.

 

Isaiah 11:1-10

Isa 11:1-9

Reed Lessing, review of Randall Heskett, Messianism within the Scriptural Scrolls of Isaiah[4]

Lessing reports that Heskett examines the book of Isaiah from two basic perspectives, before and after the Faithful accepted Isaiah as inspired by God.  I pick up a problem from what Lessing reports.  The problem is that Heskett first offers a non-changing definition of Messianism and then claims that the authors of Isaiah used a moving definition, changing from time to time.  Tradition regards Isaiah 11:19 as one of three messianic texts.  The other two are 7:14 (about the virgin giving birth) and 9:1-6 (unto us a child is born).[5]

 

Isa 11:1

Sean Freyne, “The Galilean Jesus and a Contemporary Christology”[6]

Freyne argues that the stump of Jesse refers to the Galilean Jesus, pruned back to make way for greater flourishing.  Freyne explains, “As a child, Jesus is brought by his parents to Nazareth  in Galilee to avoid Archelaus’s tyrannical rule in Judea, and the name of his village immediately evokes for Matthew the Isaian prophecy of the shoot (nazir) of Jesse, David’s father (Isa 11:1; 53:2).”

 

 

Isaiah 11:2

Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"[7]

Dozzi writes as follows, “Let us limit ourselves to a short passage the [sic] describes the significance Francis sees in the Gospel life of all the faithful:  And the Spirit of the Lord will rest (Is 11:2) upon all those men and women who have done and persevered in these things and It will make a home and dwelling place in them (Jn 14:23).”

 

Isa 11:4

Reed Lessing, review of Bryan E. Beyer, Encountering the Book of Isaiah: A Historical and Theological Survey[8]

Lessing reports,

 

     An ongoing interpretive malady is that B. often moves too quickly to NT and Christian applications and therefore fails to explore an idea or theme within the Book of Isaiah.  Typical are his comments on 49:2, where he discusses the servant’s mouth, described as if a sharp sword.  B. then moves directly to Rev 19:15, while ignoring the fuller Isaianic [sic] theme of Yhwh’s powerful word (e.g., 11:4 [used here]; 40:8; 55:10-11).

 

Isa 11:6-9

Hyun-Chul Cho, S.J., “Interconnectedness and Intrinsic Value as Ecological Principles:  An Appropriation of Karl Rahner’s Evolutionary Christology”[9]

From Isaiah 11:6-9 Cho argues for a new ecological order.  “As Isaiah declares, in the new creation, creatures will relate to and act upon one another in an entirely new manner (Isa 11:6-9; 65:25).”  That might solve the life to death to new life conundrum for a good, loving God, who permits all sorts of disasters, seen particularly on the weather channel and in individual lives.

 


 

Isaiah 11:6

Bettye Collier-Thomas, Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1580-1979[10]

Ida B. Robinson (1891-1946) used Isaiah 11:6 when she preached “And a Little Child Shall Lead Them.”  Bettye Collier-Thomas reports,

 

In “And a Little Child Shall Lead them,” Robinson chastises her audience for not concentrating on the sermon while at church.  As a model for the adults to imitate, she tells the story of Bobby Wallace, a three-year-old-boy in Brooklyn who told his mother to heed a lesson they had heard in church.  The boy, Robinson suggests, listened more carefully to the preacher than the adults.  Quoting Isa 11:6 (“And a little child shall lead them”) and Jesus’ admonishment that God’s followers must receive the Kingdom of Heaven “as a little child,” Robinson asserts that Bobby’s words exemplify this biblical focus on children’s leadership.

 

Admittedly, this is basic pay-pray-and-obey church membership.

 

Isaiah 11:9

Bettye Collier-Thomas, Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons, 1580-1979[11]

Florence Spearing Randolph (1866-1951) used Isaiah 11:9 when she preached “Looking Backward and Forward” in 1943.  Randolph raised her voice.

 

When the Prophet Isaiah opened his window [not in the readings for today], he saw the extent of the Kingdom, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountains:  for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the Waters cover the sea—" (Isa. 11:9). …

I read a story of two windows—one on the south and one on the east.  From the south window the writer saw a neglected weather beaten house with its faded shades and flimsy curtains, a desolate picture that house presented.  My!  What a little paint, a little fixing would do to that house, it would transform it, but there it stood a sad fixture.—The writer closed his eyes—, but presently opened them and looked out of the (e)ast (w)indow—AH!  He saw a pretty lawn, a rustic power supporting a grape vine, a row of majestic brick bungalows, a wonderful bed of flowers.—My!  What a difference, and he could see either by just the turning of his head.

One depressed—the other inspired—.  One showed shiftlessness, hopelessness, despondency—the other joy, peace, prosperity and beauty.  How much better to look out of the (e)ast window than the South.—

 

In this time of crisis for the Church, the outlook of the Reverend Randolph helps.

 

Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 (cf. 7)

Psalm 72:8

Bradley C. Gregory, "Abraham as the Jewish Ideal: Exegetical Traditions in Sirach 44:19-21"[12]

Gregory argues, “Either the `descendants’ [of Abraham] are all of Abraham’s offspring, in which case the kingly role has been democratized, or the `descendants’ are the specific line of kings that will come forth from Abraham (Gen 17;6; 35:11).”  I prefer the democratic to the hierocratic approach.

 

Ps 72:17

Claudia D. Bergmann, review of André Flury-Scholch, Abrahams Segen und die Volker: Synchrone und diachrone Untersuchungen zu Gen 12, 1-3 unter Besonderer Berucksichtigung der intertextuellen  Beziehungen zu Gen 18; 22; 26; 28; Sir 44; Jer 4 und Ps 72[13]

Bergmann reports that Flury-Scholch has a dense style that is difficult to follow.  Flury-Scholch argues that Psalm 72 “expresses the wish of the nations to receive the same blessing as the king.”

 

Romans 15:4-9

Different languages perceive reality differently.  The ancient Greeks used pronouns for emphasis.  Translating this emphasis from the original Greek into English is an object of the highlighting on the last page of the hard copy, not found on the web site.  The purpose of the highlighting is to transfer the Greek emphasis on personal pronouns into the English translation.  Emphasized pronouns are highlighted in blue; intense pronouns in red.  Words in green are not in the Greek.  Words marked in orange are difficult to resolve because of differences in the original manuscripts.  Words marked in yellow are remnants from before working with the Greek.

Anyone wanting a copy of the highlighted verses, please contact me at jirran@verizon.net.  Thank you.

 

I intend to relegate the above color template to the Appendix and to redistribute the changed Appendix.

 

There is a manuscript difficulty in verse 7, as Christ welcomed you.  Some manuscripts have us and which, us or you is better, is a difficult choice.

 

I think verses 5, 6, and 9 have emphasized pronouns, harmony with one another …with one accord you may with one voice … but so that the Gentiles.

 

Rom 15:7-13

Robert A. Krieg, review of Gerald O'Collins, S.J., Jesus: A Portrait and Salvation for All:  God’s Other Peoples[14]

Krieg reports that in Salvation O’Collins argues, “Paul acknowledges that Jesus directed his message first to God’s chosen people but also that God’s salvation in Christ Jesus includes the Gentiles (Rom 15:7-13).”

 

Rom 15:7-13

Christoph Stenschke, review of Jochen Flebbe, Solus Deus:  Untersuchungen zur Rede von Gott im Brief des Paulus an die Romer[15]

Stenschke reports that Flebbe argues, “Romans 15:7-13 emphasizes that Paul’s statements about God provide the decisive framework for the argument of the Epistle:  Paul’s gospel of the coming in [to the Church] of the Gentiles is not a deviation from the Scripture and tradition of Israel.”  Stenschke concludes, “The first verses of the Epistle indicate that God and God’s dealings in Christ are inseparably linked.  These verses and this determination of God should be the point of departure.”  In other words, Flebbe is basically flawed.

 

Rom 15:9

Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., "Episteusa, dio elalhsa  (2 Corinthians 4:13): Paul's Christological Reading of Psalm 115:1a LXX"[16]

Stegman argues,

 

“that in Rom 15:9 [As it is written:  Therefore, I will praise you among the Gentiles and sing praises to your name.] Paul intends Christ to be the speaker of the words cited from Ps 17:50 LXX.  Specifically, Hays contends that the apostle cites this verse in order to allude to the entire narrative of the psalm … this study strengthens another of Hays’s claims, namely, that Jesus pistis (“faithfulness”) lies at the heart of the narrative christology that the apostle’s writings presuppose and upon which they rest.

 

Luke 3:4, 6

 

Matthew 3:1-12

The manuscripts are difficult in verses 2 and 7.  And saying is difficult in verse 2; coming to his baptism is difficult in verse 7.

Two of the pronouns seem special, both in verse 11, I am baptizing youHe will baptize you.

In verse 5, all Judea and the whole region is intense.

The reading stresses repentance in three verses:  2, 8, and 11.

 

Matthew 3

Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism, 2nd ed., Erroll F. Rhodes, tr.[17]

Fundació Sant Lluc Evangelista in Barcelona has a papyrus with Matt 3:9 dating from about 200.  Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek in Vienna has Coptic, Greek lost for Matt 3:10-15 dating from the Sixth Century.  In this context, the Alands explain, “The above paragraphs show how Nestle-Aland26 [I use the 27th edition] uses signs to supply each variant with as much information as possible.  If a reading is derived from a parallel passage (especially in the Gospels), the sign p) is added (cf. Matt. 3:10) …” 

 

After first looking in the vertical margins, I found this reference in the apparatus at the bottom of the page, evidently referring to other manuscripts, rather than other places in the Bible.  I have yet to decipher the symbols for the manuscripts, especially in coordination with Daniel B. Wallace.[18]  I think there is a difference in what some of the same symbols mean between Nestle-Aland and Wallace.

 


 

Matt 3:1-3

Ithamar Gruenwald, review of Ephraim Richard E. Demaris, The New Testament in Its Ritual World[19]

Gruenwald reports that he finds this book lacking.  “Although D. is familiar with most of the scholarly work in studies on ritual, he makes selective use of them” [to argue his points.]

 

Matt 3:2

Paul Lawrence, The IVP Atlas of Bible History[20]

Lawrence pieces Luke 3:1 and 23 with Mathew 3:2 to determine that Jesus began his ministry about thirty years of age.

 

Matt 3:3

Emil A. Wcela, “What is Catholic about a Catholic Translation of the Bible?”[21]

Wcela treats the politics of translation.

 

Francis Kenrick, the coadjutor bishop of Philadelphia, later bishop of Philadelphia and then Baltimore, had recognized the need for a new English translation of the Bible, made from the VG [Vulgate] but compared to the Greek.  His version appeared in six volumes between 1849 and 1860.  Kenrick translated Matt 3:2 (metanoeite; poenitentiam agite) as “repent” rather than the familiar Douay-Rheims-Challoner “do penance.”  Ignatius Reynolds, the bishop of Charleston, objected vehemently to this change in familiar language.  In addition to the change from the familiar, there was an underlying conservative Catholic wish to defend the Vg against the Protestant insistence on the Greek text.  Kenrick ran into opposition on another issue.  Martin Spalding, the bishop of Louisville, criticized Kenrick’s note on baptize, which Kenrick had interpreted to mean “immersion.”  Spalding objected to this reference to immersion because “the Baptists here have been exulting over it too much.”

 

This article is key to the religious political horrors I see associated with obtaining a satisfactory translation of Sacred Scripture. 

 


 

Matt 3:7-12

Leroy Andrew Huizenga, “Obedience unto Death: The Matthean Gethsemane and Arrest Sequence and the Aqedah”[22]

Huizenga argues, “The baptism contrasts Jesus’ obedience (Matt 3:13-17) with the Pharisees’ hypocrisy (3:7-12) and is tied to the temptation (4:1-11), in which Jesus’ obedience is sorely tested.”

 

Matt 3:8

Jean-Joseph Buirette, O.F.M., “A Short Glossary of Terms used by Francis of Assisi” [23]

Buirette explains,

 

Very often it [what Francis means by penance] refers to what John the Baptist demanded, namely, a complete change of heart.  For some this manifests itself by leaving the world and entering religion, “a life of penance,” as Francis would say.  For the brothers and sisters of penance (our present-day tertiaries), it would manifest itself by those “fruits worthy of penance” (Mt 3:8), which are steadfast avoidance of all evil, service of one’s brothers and sisters, prayer, the sacraments and works of mercy.

 

 

For more on sources see the Appendix file.  Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes

 



[1] See A. W. Richard Sipe, “Scandal vs. crisis; PR vs. raw data,”  http://ncronline.org/blogs/examining-crisis/scandal-vs-crisis-pr-vs-raw-data  accessed July 13, 2010.  Following these six stages developed by the professor of sociology at Eastern Michigan University, Ron Westrum, begins with Reading 138 C, September 26, 2010.

 

[2]  See NCR Editorial, http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/newman-still-commands-our-attention  accessed September 19, 2010.

 

[3] Henry Chu, “Sorry for `unspeakable crimes’:  Thousands protest priests’ abuse in London as pontiff tries to contain damage,” Tribune Newspapers, London, News:  Nation & World Daily Press, page 17 columns 1 and 2.

 

[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 1 (January 2009) 139.

 

[6] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 2 (June 2009) 284.

 

[7] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 113.

 

[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 562.

 

[9] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 637.

 

[10] San Francisco, CA 94103-1741:  A Wiley Imprint: 1998, 194, 196, 199, 206.

 

[11] San Francisco, CA 94103-1741:  A Wiley Imprint: 1998, 101, 105, 107, 140, 143, 144.

 

[12] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 1 (January 2008) 78.

 

[13] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2009) 370.

 

[14] Theological Studies, Vol. 70, No. 3 (September 2009) 696.

 

[15] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 1 (January 2010) 148.

 

[16] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 725, 726.

 

[17] Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, 100, 102, 243.

 

[18] Daniel B. Wallace, With Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes: Greek Grammar:  Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Michigan: Zondervan, 1996).

 

[19] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2009) 399-400.

 

[20] Downers Grove, Illinois, InterVarsity Press, 2006, 138.

 

[21] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 2 (April 2009) 251.

 

[22] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 71, No. 3 (July 2009) 518.

 

[23] Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2004), 296.