Scholars find signs of fundamental changes in the religion of the First Testament. For this Sunday, I label these changes revolt. In his own way, Jesus was a revolutionary, as were some of the earlier prophets.

Psalm 50 is interesting, because the Psalmist is revolting from staid, set-in-the-ways religious activity to a new dynamic of the heart. This type of revolt is similar to the Protestant Revolt. Quoting Hosea in Matthew, Jesus had a similar revolt against established religion.

The next interest is Paul offering an exegesis of Abraham. Paul is trying to deal with the cross. The answer for Paul is a personal faith, like the faith described in Psalm 50.

These readings have something for educated “Cafeteria Catholics” in the United States, looking for religious identity in the midst of institutional chaos. Like religion at the time of Jesus and the other prophets, institutional religion too often is ephemeral, pious pabulum, rather than solid devotion of the heart to let truth determine institutional politics. Since we are going through a Presidential election, the battle between truth and politics is upper most in many minds. The readings for today encourage the Faithful to follow their own hearts in the dogged pursuit of truth in the face of countervailing religious and secular politics.



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 of the interesting details scholars are digging up.

Hosea 6:3-6


Psalm 50:1, 8, 12-13, 14-15

Psalm 50

Richard Whitekettle, "Bugs, Bunny, or Boar? Identifying the Ziz Animals of Psalms 50 and 80"[1]

The Lectionary reading mentions strong bulls and goats. Whitekettle uses verses 10 and 11, but skips over 12 and 13 used here. What Whitekettle is doing has some controversy to it and the Lectionary deliberately avoids controversy.

Scholars, however, regard controversial areas as sources of greater insight into meaning. Where the Lectionary does not want to upset the Faithful masses, scholars in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly do not worry, because scholars are not writing for the masses of the Faithful. My college students taught me not to worry about upsetting the Faithful. All they wanted from me was to try to tell the truth. They had confidence that if I did that, God would protect their Faith.

When I would tell my students I was being paid to tell them the truth, as best as I understood it and that I did not know how I would temper my comments had I remained on my path to the priesthood, my students surprised me by reacting. My students responded that by trying to tell the truth, as best I understood it, in the final analysis, I was, even so, following the best pastoral approach.

I am taking a problem-solving approach to these Notes. Professional educators have found that solving problems requires learning the basics. I taught historiography (how historians changed their interpretation of what happened) as well as what happened. As someone deeply involved and committed to Black History, this approach suited my background. That knowledge about teaching critical thinking and problem solving enables me to present these Notes as I do.


Psalm 50

Richard J. Clifford, S.J., review of John Day (ed.), Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel[2]

Clifford points out an article by John Barton, “The Prophets and the Cult,” arguing that Psalm 50 is revolutionary. The Psalmist is tuning away from staid, set-in-the-ways religious ceremonies to more free standing motions of the heart.


Romans 4:18-25

For anyone interested, a place to begin learning Biblical Greek is  . That site describes the main book I am using,[3] as offering such details as to miss the overall basic picture, a picture with which I do struggle.


Romans 4

Jeffrey S. Lamp, "Is Paul Anti-Jewish? Testament of Levi 6 in the Interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16"[4]

Lamp argues that Paul identifies the Jews in Galatians 3 and Romans 4. What Paul writes about Abraham helps identify who is Jewish. For example, Paul writes, “Abraham believed … He did not weaken in faith … He did not doubt God’s promise …”


Rom 4:18-24

R. Barry Matlock, "`Even the Demons Believe’: Paul and pistis Xristou[5]

Matlock examines the grammar for the relationship between syntactical and rhetorical needs for “believe, have faith, trust.”


Rom 4:25

John Kloppenborg, “An Analysis of the Pre-Pauline Formula 1 Cor 15:3b-5 In Light of some Recent Literature”[6]

Kloppenborg argues, with H. Conzelmann, that Isaiah 53:5, does not lie behind Romans 4:25, about Jesus being handed over for the justification of the Faithful. Scribes finalized the version of Isaiah used to make that argument in the post-Christian era.


Rom 4:25

Frank J. Matera, "Christ in the Theologies of Paul and John: A Study in the Diverse Unity of New Testament Theology" [7]

Matera asks,


If the Crucified One was truly God’s Son, what was the significance of his death? In answering this question Paul learned from, and built upon, the Church kerygmatic [teaching] formulas that were already proclaiming the soteriological [salvation] significance of Jesus’ death.


In struggling to understand the cross, Paul reaches across the ages helping the Faithful to do likewise. Part of bearing the cross involves standing up to religious and secular institutions.


Rom 4:25

Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., "Episteusa, dio elalhsa (2 Corinthians 4:13): Paul's Christological Reading of Psalm 115:1a LXX"[8]

Romans 4:25, was handed over for our transgressions does not say who handed over Jesus. Stegman argues that Paul means that God handed over Jesus.


Cf. Luke 4:18


Matthew 9:9-13

Matt 9:9

James Swetnam, S.J., review of Luis Sánchez Navarro, “Venid a mi” (Mt 11,28-30): El discipulado, fundamento de la ética en Mateo[9]

Sánchez Navarro stresses the person as distinct from the individual. The focus is on intentions of the heart. Swetnam offers high praise for this study.


For more on sources see the Appendix file.

[1] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 67, No. 2 (April 2005) 250-264.


[2] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 3 (July 2006) 566.


[3] William D. Mounce, Zondervan Greek Reference Series: The Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House: A Division of HarperCollins Publishers, 1993). I also use Sakac Kubo, Zondervan Greek Reference Series: A Reader’s Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament: Andrews University Monographs: Volume IV (Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530 USA: Zondervan™, 1975 ISBN: 0-310-26920-2).


[4] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (July, 2003) 423.


[5] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2002) 316.


[6] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3 (July 1978) 354, 355, 361.


[7] Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 2 (June 2006) 243.


[8] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (July, 2007) 729.


[9] the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 2 (July, 2006) 347.