This article is disturbing for many reasons. The first is the realization that “over half of the books of the Hebrew Bible circulated in variant literary editions at the time of the origins of Christianity and rabbinic Judaism.” (page 9) The rabbis only established the Masoretic text in the Eighth/Ninth Centuries AD, after Christianity had long claimed to supersede Judaism. What follows from that is that at least some of the self-assurance of the teaching Magisterium is misplaced. The post-Vatican II 2004 President of the Catholic Biblical Association writes this article.
Ulrich bemoans that the attitude toward the Dead Sea Scrolls is pious reassurance, rather than serious study. As he words it, “The goal is not so much the truth as feeling safe.” (page 10). I would say religious politics is overriding truth.
Ulrich takes a stand at how to approach the Masoretic text. He concludes, “a critical eclecticism … one may now consider the preferable method.” (page 16).
Staying with the Masoretic text, Ulrich explains:
Of course, throughout history there have been claims that neither God nor Catholic faith changes in any substantial way. But history is replete with examples of different types of change. One right under our nose, of course, is the church’s position on historical-critical biblical scholarship. The church in the twentieth century succeeded in making a major reversal of its position that was required by the growth in human knowledge. One could say that, if the church did not change, there would be no Catholic Biblical Association and no one would be reading this address.
In footnote 66, Ulrich writes,
… though it is commonplace to accuse contemporary culture of antireligious and amoral influence, it is also true that it is this culture, with its scientific and sociological advances, that has raised our level of morality with respect to the plight of the poor and the oppressed, when we discern God’s will as requiring the abolition of slavery, curbing violence, assuring religious freedom, securing greater respect for women and women’s rights, and so forth.
Ulrich is concerned about “… the considerable role played by the community in forming and endorsing the tradition [of sacred writing] as Scripture.” (page 24). Ulrich gets involved with birth control as he writes about “Method in Theology and Church Decision Making.”
… we have the anomalous situation of the “official” Magisterium condemning family planning whereas “(b)y 1993 more than 85 percent of American Catholics approve of birth control. … Simply put, the vast majority of American Catholics, both clergy and laity does not believe that the practice of birth control is sinful.”
The quote Ulrich
uses is from
Garry Wills, a historian at
Northwestern University (Papal Sin: Structures of Deceit
Finally, on page
23, Ulrich quotes
While I have cited Ulrich repeatedly, as shown below, until now I have avoided his excursion into moral theology.
Date Reading Name CBQ reference
3/2005 37*38A Palm Sunday A Scroll Containing “Biblical” and “Apocryphal” Psalms: A preliminary Edition of 4QPsf (4Q88) 
I think the
Faithful are now at a point where, to remain silent, is a dis
Families authorize the renewed covenant. Sivertsev defines adulthood as the “ability to establish and maintain his own family,” a definition that still makes some sense. The renewed authorization of the covenant probably occurred after the return from Babylonian exile in the Fifth Century B.C. These family groups were rural, rather than urban.
parallel between Jesus opening the scrolls in the temple and Ezra doing the
same. Just as Ezra brought in a new age
and teaching authority, so does
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm
19:8, 9, 10, 15 (cf.
Methods for Studying and Praying the Psalms
First Principle “Today” Has Its Own
Second Principle Read the Text of the Psalm
Third Principle: Read the Text with Imagination
Very few parts of the Bible originated in mystic isolation separated from us in opaque silence. The Bible generally unravels in stories, teeming with conversation and movement, color and sound. We need to read and listen with imagination. Yet, as the psalms ritually reenact these stories of salvation, they blend silent adoration with singing and procession. Imagination never excludes ecstatic prayer.
Before returning to Psalm 95 to exemplify this third principle or method for reading and praying with the Bible with imagination, a few incidents in the career of Moses, the founder of Israel’s religion and its great lawgiver, need consideration because the second part of Psalm 95 reminisces about the days with Moses at Meribah and Massah in the Sinai desert.
When Moses first ascended Mount Sinai, “there was thunder and lightning, as well as a thick cloud on the mountain, and a blast of a trumpet so loud that all the people who were in the camp trembled” (Exod 19:16). This same chapter, if reread carefully, records Moses’ frequent return trips to the people before again reentering the cloud, smoke, and thunder of God’s presence. Notice, for instance, the trips up and down the mountain in verses 3, 13, 20, 24-25.
Psalm 95 invites its audience into a liturgical procession with sound and
sight, until the audience is at the sanctuary and filled with awe. There is much for the imagination. The psalm
invites those assembled to “come into (God’s) presence” (v. 2). The people encourage one another to “make a
joyful noise to (God) with songs of praise!” (v. 2b). Verse 4 addresses “the depths of the heights
of the mountains,” possibly those that flank the Kidron Valley that separates
Mount Zion on the west and the three mounts of temptation, evil counsel, and
olives on the east. The appeal to the
imagination invites listeners and readers to reach out to glimpse the desert
farther to the east and the Mediterranean Sea which guards
imagination continues with the procession through the
imagination, in fact one’s whole attitude of joyful singing with musical
instruments, can easily picture different groups of people. While the entire congregation sings the two
refrains (vv. 1-2, 6), a special choir intones more elaborately the motivation
for processing to the sanctuary (vv. 3-5) and prostrating before the
Finally, Psalm 95 causes one to experience a jolt caused by the sudden change to a prophetic threat against false, formalistic worship:
O that today you would listen to his voice!
Do not harden your hearts, as at Meribah,
As on the day at Massah in the wilderness (Ps 95:7b-8).
If one has been picturing and resonating with the intense, joyful scene, then one needs a further explanation. If one recalls the earlier discussion of the first principle about today having its own grace and the influence of the book of Deuteronomy on the composer of this psalm, then one can picture an action between verse 7a and verse 7b. In the spirit and style of Deuteronomy, a Levite comes forward to proclaim the sacred Scripture or Tradition and then to preach about its meaning and application. See, for instance, Deut 31:9-13, 24-29 or a later, very similar instance during the reform of Ezra the scribe: “Then Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people answered, `Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands. … So they read from the book, from the law of God, with interpretation. They gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading” (Neh 8:6, 8).
Moreover, in the pronouncement of Ezra and Nehemiah to the people who are fearful about their sinfulness: “This day is holy to the LORD your God; do not mourn or weep” (Neh 8:9), there is yet another parallel that illuminates the seeming disjuncture of verse 7a-b.
reverent, and attentive involvement in the stages of action in Psalm 95 could
enable hearers and readers to supplement the psalm with the proclamation of
Scripture and a sermon between verse 7a and verse 7b. The prophetic threat then in verses 7b-11, in
the spirit of the previous passage from Nehemiah 8—9 or again from Deuteronomy
31, becomes the solemn closing of the sacred service in Psalm 95. As the people leave the sanctuary and return
home, they must not imitate the disobedience and insolence of their ancestors in
the wilderness with
Fourth Principle: Read the Psalms According to Its Key Words
Fifth Principle: Read the Psalm with Other Parallel Passages
Sixth Principle: Read the Psalms according to the Liturgy and Classic Spiritual Writers
Seventh Principle: Consult Commentaries
The Lectionary translation of Psalm 19 differs from Stuhlmueller, but the differences are minimal.
1 Cor 12:4-29
1 Corinthians 12:25
Ormerod explores the relationship between the social sciences and theology. He identifies four social science typologies and uses 1 Corinthians 12:25 to make a case for examining the church from a functionalist typology. In this typology, social scientists fit the facts to see how they maintain the social system. This typology leaves no room for dissension. The other typologies leave more room. Ormerod writes to insist that theology not ignore the social sciences.
I am disturbed because the social sciences are not used to develop liturgies.
1 Cor 12:27-28
the early church was not as structured as what came later. The idea of “the body of Christ,” however was
used to structure church organization in the Deutero-Pauline Epistles (Col
2:17; Eph 4:12; cf.
1 Cor 12:27
“Parts of it [
Please pass along suggestions you may have for improving the changed format. Thank you. For more on sources see the Appendix file. Personal Notes are on the web site at www.western-civilization.com/CBQ/Personal%20Notes
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (October 2004) 9.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 1 (January 2005) #1 63 ff. esp. 75.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (October 2006) 242.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 4 (October 2005) 647.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 66, No. 4 (December 2005) 825.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 4 (October 2004) 583, 595.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 2 (October 2004) 260, 262.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 3 (October 2005) 555.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 2 (October 1978) 210.