The Dead Sea Scrolls
document acceptance of various versions of the Scriptures at the time of Jesus. This means that the New American Bible
used in the Lectionary is correct to use the best ancient texts
available, rather than one or another of the ancient texts as all other English
translations do. Through Jerome’s Nova
Vulgata, Douay-Rheims uses the Septuagint. The King James uses the Septuagint
without benefit of Jerome. Both the New
Revised Standard Version and
The Nova Vulgata drew from the Hebrew, but without the variety of ancient texts available today. Contemporary scholars, translating from the more ancient texts, tend to bypass the Nova Vulgata. The Magisterium has ordered the Nova Vulgata the authentic text, unless there is good reason to use another.
One ramification of the
The earliest document for the Masoretic (MT), or Hebrew, text only dates from 1009. Before World War II, until the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars regarded the MT as most authentic. The Dead Sea Scrolls show that what was handed down in the Greek Septuagint (LXX) was often more authentic than the Masoretic texts. The Faithful now have a problem.
The role of the Faithful determining which texts to accept is upsetting, because the role of the Faithful functioned for years without benefit of the modern Magisterium. This is troublesome, for example, not only in the area of scripture study, but also in the area of responsible (artificial) family planning, i.e. birth control, because polls show that more than eighty-five percent of Catholics in the United States do not consider use of artificial means of birth control as sinful. The point is that not only must the modern Magisterium propose, but also the Faithful must endorse doctrine. The Church truly learns from human experience.
The Magisterium is not always consistent. The Magisterium made a major change in the Twentieth Century, from rejecting to accepting historical-critical scholarship. Ramifications of the role of the Faithful determining what to accept within the context of the Magisterium is not a matter of systematic theology. Such ramifications, however, do look like one consequence of Scripture study. Eugene Ulrich, of the University of Notre Dame, makes the leap from Scripture to moral theology. Ulrich wrote the January 2004 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly article setting up the Notes. Ulrich writes, “Revelation and inspiration have been democratized.” Such democratization forces the Faithful to take greater responsibility for what they believe.
The people, Faithful or not, are not God. To make the point, my students and I developed the following saying, “The people are gross, crass and greedy; rude, crude, and lewd; given a chance, and they will kill you and shoot themselves in the foot.” Just where are the lines of sin? In these readings, Isaiah, Paul, and Peter all shudder at their own sinfulness. For humans, achievement almost builds on failure. I used to enjoy saying to my students that the difference between them on one side of the desk and me on the other was that I had made more mistakes than they had, albeit not the same mistakes repeatedly. In the spiritual life, such mistakes are sins.
Isaiah 6: 1-2a, 3-8
Isaiah is specific about time and place, meaning that the development of Scriptures takes place within a human environment, somewhat independent of the Magisterium. The Faithful seem to have a role endorsing what develops and how it develops from a particular time and place. In this case, the Faithful endorse the presence of angels.
These readings lay out the vocations of holy men. Isaiah wants to do it, `Here I am Lord, send me.’ Paul is successful despite himself. Peter seems to have nothing cerebral going on as he joins in the witness to the Christ. Peter is the most attractive of the three, simply serving as a witness, without trying to judge anything. The Dead Sea Scrolls are teaching the Faithful to be less judgmental about the authentic Word of God.
For prophets there is always something hidden. Revelation seems to require something of concealment and silence. Such concealment and silence leaves room for Faith and for the changing understanding of Faith itself.
Psalm 138:1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8 (1c)
The Lectionary uses this Psalm in the following places:
75C 557 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8 (1 c) Today
111C 736 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 7-8 (3 a) Ordinary 17
121A 785 1-2, 2-3, 4-5, 6, 8 (8 b c) Ordinary 21
This psalm brings in the angels as an audience for human song. Grace is the reason for the ability to sing before the angels. The Latin for give thanks is confitebor, with a sense of admitting that the Lord is God and praiseworthy. Translations vary.
Verses 1 and 2
Lectionary (1998): give thanks … give thanks
The Vulgate (circa 410): confitebor … confitebor
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): praise … praise (Psalm 136)
King James (1611): give thanks … give thanks (Psalm 135)
Jerusalem (1966): thank … give thanks
New American (1970): thank … praise
This is different from the Lectionary.
New Jerusalem (1985): thank … praise
In verse 8 the Psalmist refers to himself as part of the wonders of Creation, `the work of his hands.’ Self-esteem emanating from this wonder serves to aid the Faithful through the uncertainties of life, death, and everything in between.
1 Corinthians 15:1-11
Corinthians 15:1-4 is used
in Pastoral Care of the Sick, Part
In this letter,
The Faithful used to think of in accord with the Scriptures as referring to different passages, rather than different renditions of the same passage. The Dead Sea Scrolls are teaching the Faithful to include different renditions of the same passage, as described above. These Scriptures may account for why the New Testament never quotes the First Testament exactly word-for-word. The different renditions made an exact quotation impossible.
Died according to
the Scriptures influenced Mark 14, as a result of
Cephas, or Rocky in verse 5 is Peter.
Paul usually refers to
This section on
Relative to belief,
Lectionary (1998): unless you believed in vain.
The Vulgate (circa 410): nisi si frustra credidistis!
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): unless you have believed in vain.
New American (1970): unless you believed in vain.
New Jerusalem (1985): otherwise your coming to believe was in vain.
This usage, throughout the
Verse 10 is about the nature
of the divine-human relationship, a constant
This verse calls attention to the vocational aspect of the Christian life.
There are various ways of expressing what was happening to the nets in verse 6. Someone must be thinking that were the net broken, the fish could not be caught.
Lectionary (1998): were tearing
The Vulgate (circa 410): rumpebantur
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610): their net broke
New American (1970): were tearing
New Jerusalem (1985): began to tear
The difference between the
vocations of men and women as portrayed in Scripture is that women serve while
the men leave their homes to follow Jesus.
In this reading,
The readings for Cycle C of
the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time reflect on the vocations of three great holy
men, Isaiah in the first reading,
From the time an article appears in a journal until the findings appear in textbooks takes about twenty years. At least that used to be the time-duration, before the internet explosion of information. Whether the problem is recognized by others in twenty or five years, the problem is present for the Faithful reading these Notes now. The way to handle the problem is with grace that God will see to it that the Faithful remain in the palm of his hand through it all.
For more on sources, besides the footnotes, see the Appendix file.
 Eugene Ulrich, “Our Sharper Focus on the Bible and Theology Thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 1 (January 2004)15-16.
 Richard J. Dillon, “Previewing Luke’s Project from His Prologue (Luke 1:1-4),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 2 (April 1981) 216.
 Randall E. Otto, “The Prophets and Their Perspective," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 2 (April 2001), 230.
 Brian Britt, “Prophetic Concealment in a Biblical Type Scent,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 1 (January 2002) 41, 58.
 International Commission on English in the Liturgy: A Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences, The Roman Ritual: Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and Published by Authority of Pope Paul VI: Pastoral Care of the Sick: Rites of Anointing and Viaticum: Approved for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Confirmed by the Apostolic See (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1983) 2770-271.
 Robert J. Daly, S.J., “The Soteriological Significance of the Sacrifice of Isaac,”" the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 1 (January 1977) 48, 75.
 John M. Perry, “The Three Days in the Synoptic Passion Predictions,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 646.
 Mark Kiley, “`Lord, Save my Life’ (Psalm 116:4) as Generative Text for Jesus’ Gethsemane Prayer (Mark 14:36 a),” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 48, No. 4 (October 1986) 658.
 E. Best, “Peter in the Gospel According to Mark,” the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 4 (October 1978) 548, 555.
 Jerome Murphy-O'Connor, O.P., “Tradition and Redaction in 1 Cor 15:3-7," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 4 (October 1981) 588.
 Vincent M. Smiles, “The Concept of `Zeal’ in Second-Temple Judaism and Paul’s Critique of It in Romans 10:2," the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2002) 299.