As I push seventy-five years of age, many of my friends and acquaintances struggle with the ravages of old age. Accepting these physical challenges with humility and determination can allow one a cheerfulness in the midst of discomfort. That humility is the source of Lady Poverty in the Franciscan spirit.
The liturgy for this Sunday is about praising God in the midst of adversity. Ezekiel is all too conscious of the inevitability of death. In that spirit, the antiphon for the 25th Psalm is remember your mercies, O Lord. Philippians is about Jesus becoming a slave. The Gospel is about the obedience of the two sons. Obedience is the fruit of humility out of which Lady Poverty can grow.
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 scholarly details.
J. Gerald Janzen, "Qohelet on Life `Under the Sun'"
About 300 B.C., Qohelet, whose name means The Preacher, wrote the Book of Ecclesiastes. Qohelet takes a dismal view of `Life under the sun.’ Survival of the group, despite the death of individuals, is no consolation. The only consolation Qohelet finds is celebrating joy though work, family, and food, as “a way of keeping hope alive despite the loss of all hope.”
Qohelet throws cold water on the earlier hopeful expectations of Isaiah, who began writing in 742 B.C. The School of Isaiah finished the book some three hundred years later, about 350 B.C. The three-verse snippet the Lectionary excises from Ezekiel 18:3-32 misrepresents the general thrust of Ezekiel. When Ezekiel 18:28 says he shall surely live, he shall not die, the reality is that everyone dies. Janzen argues that here Qohelet is mocking Isaiah. Appropriately and without mocking, the Lectionary uses Psalm 15 and Philippians, which the Church uses at funerals and care for the sick.
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (6a)
Anthony R. Ceresko, O.S.F.S., "Endings and Beginnings: Alphabetic Thinking and the Shaping of Psalms 106 and 150"
Psalm 25 is an acrostic poem, emphasizing the use of reason. Psalm 25 goes through the Hebrew alphabet, but then ends part way through, with the letter pe.
Vincent M. Smiles, “The Concept of `Zeal’ in Second-Temple Judaism and Paul's Critique of It in Romans 10:2”
The allusion to the law at Psalm 25:4, teach me your paths, is an allusion to the Covenant made more specific at verse 10, not used by the Lectionary this Sunday.
I am using The Text of the New Testament by
Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland that refers to Monica as the wife of
These problems notwithstanding, the reviewer also states, “There is much to commend about the volume and it will probably (and deservedly) become the standard textbook in [sic] the subject.” Therefore, I will continue to use the Alands as I try to understand the Greek. The reviewer promises that Chapters 5 and 7 will be helpful understanding the features of the Nestle-Aland Greek. I have just finished reading Chapter 4 and intend to continue, through the rest of the book.
The difficult passage in Philippians is at 2:4. The apparatus explaining differences in manuscripts goes on for six lines that I do not understand. The problem is with the Greek words for looking out … for those [interests] of others.
When I compare the 1999 27th edition of Nestle-Aland with another work that compares the differences between the 1963 25th and 1979 26th editions, I find that the 1999 27th edition does not place these differences in the footnotes. When I wrote three years ago, I promised to look, to see what I could find. The following shows a major awkwardness in English which often happens when those translating the Greek do not have English as their first language.
Lectionary (1998) looking out … for those of others.
The Vulgate (circa 410) considerantes … quae aliorum.
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) considering … those that are other men’s.
King James (1611) look … on the things of others.
Catholic RSV (1969) look … to the interests of others
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) everyone should give preference to others
Clint Tibbs, "The Spirit (World) and the (Holy) Spirits among the Earliest Christians: 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 as a Test Case"
Tibbs argues from the “unified oneness” at be of one mind, to argue that one holy spirit refers to unity in the ancient spirit world, rather than the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.
Peter Oakes, review of Stephen E. Fowl, Philippians
Oakes joins the study of Sacred Scripture with the study of Dogma to argue, “that the internal dynamics of the Trinity show how similarity and difference can coexist constructively.” Fowl is paralleling the theology of friendship with God with how to live in the practical order.
Fowl continues to argue “forcefully that there is no case for seeing Phil 2:6-11 as a quotation from preexisting material.” Forceful or not, the Greek is set out as a hymn. Significantly, the reviewer, Oakes, writes forcefully, not convincingly. Joining the study of Sacred Scripture with the study of Dogma is rare and laudable.
Stephen Fowl, review of Joseph Hellerman, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Pudorum
Stephen Fowl was the subject of the review above. Here, he composes the review. Describing the work of Hellerman, Fowl writes,
… in Phil 2:5-11 Paul sought to reconstruct a counterculture of honor among the Philippian Christians. The central character here is the Christ whose accumulations of dishonor are laid out in Phil 2:6-8. The vindication in 2:9-11 of the one who took the form of a slave and became obedient even to the extent of dying on a cross proposes a counterculture of honor based on the cross.
This must be the counterculture that rankles me when I
hear it in sermons at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, in
Evan F. Kuehn, "The Johannine Logic of Augustine's Trinity: A Dogmatic Sketch"
This is another welcome article combining Dogma and Sacred Scripture. Philippians 2:5-11 is presented as a Trinitarian hymn.
Nicholas E. Denysenko, "The Soteriological Significance of the Feast of Mary's Birth"
The Byzantines use Philippians 2:5-11 in the Divine Liturgy September 8, the Birth of Mary.
Lisa Sowle Cahill, "Quaestio Disputata: The Atonement Paradigm: Does it Still Have Explanatory Value?"
Cahill writes, “… not all New Testament models of salvation focus on the death of Christ. Alternative models, found even in Paul, are salvation through the incarnation, which unites humanity to divinity (Phil 2:5-8) …”
David G. Schultenover, S.J., "From the Editor's Desk”
Schultenover quotes Philippians, Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus. That is not bad for the editor of a scholarly journal. That mind of Jesus is also something toward which all the Faithful can aspire.
Mary Ann Beavis, review of J. Albert Harrill, Slaves in the New Testament: Literary, Social, and Moral Dimensions
Harrill argues persuasively that the New Testament upholds slavery. Beavis regrets that Harrill does not analyze Phil 2:6-11, which can be applied to slavery and, I would add, child abuse.
Thomas D. Stegman, S.J., "Episteusa, dio elalhsa (2 Corinthians 4:13): Paul's Christological Reading of Psalm 115:1a LXX"
Stegman cuts to the chase, Jesus took on the form of a slave.
John Reumann, review of Joseph H. Hellerman, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Podorum
Stephen Fowl also reviews this book, above, in the Catholic Biblical Quarterly. Reumann translates Cursus Podorum as “a succession or race of ignominies.” Interestingly, the Theological Studies review does more with exegesis of Sacred Scripture, while the Biblical Quarterly does more with history.
Chapter VI, by Hellerman, is the heart of the book. Chapter VI is on Philippians 2:6-11. Evidently, many recent English commentaries think Paul wrote the hymn. While the Lectionary has unusual four-deep indentations, that format does not indicate hymn to me. eumann did not use the rankling word counterculture, which Fowl used at least three times.
Dino Dozzi, "`Thus Says the Lord' The Gospel in the Writings of Saint Francis"
Saint Francis used Philippians 2:8, he humbled himself as the basis for poverty. I think Dozzi is carried away, when he writes that Franciscan poverty “requires us to give up as well every right to our own ideas.” The first reason Dozzi overstates his case is because he also posits that one has a right to honor one’s own conscience by not violating it. That requires a right to one’s own ideas.
The second reason is the tension between truth and power that I see as a historian of civilization and culture. Contrary to Dozzi, I submit that ideas are all right. With Dozzi, I agree that (because of the political framework in which they exist) ideas require poverty of spirit. Sometimes poverty of spirit is required in order to speak out; at other times poverty of spirit is required in order to keep the peace. Either way, however, the Franciscan poverty of spirit is required. Poverty of spirit is personal attachment only to those things centered on God.
Jean-Joseph Buirette, O.F.M.,
"A Short Glossary of Terms Used by Francis of
The terms are: Lesser, Minority, Little, Servant; and Poverty. Buirette writes that the key to understanding the terms is that Francis is captivated by the self-emptying of Christ, who, after all, is God. Christ centers himself on God.
Camille Bérubé, "The Early Spirit of Saint Francis by Bernardine of
Here Bérubé describes another self-emptying of Christ that the Faithful are also able to do. I particularly watch this happen as I help people work their way through their final agonies before death. I do this as a parish Eucharistic minister.
Todd D. Still, "Christos as Pistos: The Faith(fulness) of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews"
Still uses Philippians 2:8, becoming obedient to argue that such obedience “was integral to his being perfected and enabled him to become the `source of eternal salvation … to all those who obey him.’”
Kenneth Schenck, "2 Corinthians and the PistiV Cristou Debate"
Schenck recognizes Philippians 2:8 as part of a hymn.
According to the apparatus showing difficult areas with the Greek in the original manuscripts, Matthew has five problem areas. My sense of the problem areas are as follows.
Lectionary (1998) He came to the first
The Vulgate (circa 410) Et accidens ad primum
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) and coming to the first
King James (1611) and he came to the first
Catholic RSV (1969) and we went to the first
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) He went and said to the first
Lectionary (1998) I will not
The Vulgate (circa 410) Nolo
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) I will not
King James (1611) I will not
Catholic RSV (1969) I will not
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) I will not go
Lectionary (1998) but afterwards changed his mind and went
The Vulgate (circa 410) postea autem paenitentia motus abiit
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) But afterwards, being moved with repentance, he went.
King James (1611) but afterward he repented, and went.
Catholic RSV (1969) but afterward he repented and went.
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) but afterwards thought better of it and went.
Lectionary (1998) `Yes, sir
The Vulgate (circa 410) Eo, domine
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) I go, Sir
King James (1611) I go, sir
Catholic RSV (1969) I go, sir
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) Certainly, sir
Lectionary (1998) Which of the two
The Vulgate (circa 410) Quis ex duobus
Douay-Rheims (1582-1610) Which of the two
King James (1611) Whether of them twain
Catholic RSV (1969) Which of the two
New American (
New Jerusalem (1985) Which of the two
After examining the difficult passages, the only startling discovery is the Lectionary excising the word he at Matthew 21:29. The difference is between changed his mind and he changed his mind. My experience is that most research is a great commotion about nothing, but that the application of the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair is a prerequisite for research that ultimately becomes meaningful. Therefore, I went on, for nine pages this time.
Jerome H. Neyrey, S.J., "`I Am the Door' (John 10:7, 9): Jesus the Broker in the Fourth Gospel"
Neyrey writes, “The rights of a father center on the honorable acknowledgment of his role and status by his sons. … the father can be shamed when a son … disobeys him (Matt 21:28).” Jesus is the broker between sinful humanity and God the Father.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 476.
 N.a., 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 IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: 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 Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 224, 254, 262.
 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: Prepared by International Commission on English in the Liturgy: a Joint Commission of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences (New York: Catholic Book Publishing Co. 1983) 172, 283.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 1 (January 2006) 33, 34.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 2 (April 2002) 291.
 N.a., 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 IV: Order of Christian Funerals: Including Appendix 2: Cremation: 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 Jersey: Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1998) 320.
 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. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989) 215.
 Larry W. Hurtado, review of 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, Erroll F. Rhodes, tr. (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987) the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 50, No. 2 (April 1988) http://search.atlaonline.com/pls/eli/ec.pdfapp.showpdf?myaid=ATLA0000564809 080803. The review is of a 1987 edition; I am using a 1989 edition, which is not reviewed.
Nestle-Aland: Greek-English New Testament:
Greek text Novum Testamentum Graece, in the tradition of Eberhard Nestle and
Erwin Nestle edited by Barbara and Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo
M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger. English text 2nd Edition of the Revised Standard
Version The Critical Apparatuses prepared and edited together with the
Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Munster/Westphalia by Barbara and
Kurt Aland (
 David Holly, Comparative Studies in Recent Greek New Testament Texts: Nestle-Aland’s 25th and 26th Editions (Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1983) xii and 149 pages.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 2 (April 2008) 328.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 68, No. 4 (October 2006) 762.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 3 (July 2007) 581.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 67, No. 3 (September 2007) 585.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 4 (December 2007) 751.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 419, 426.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 68, No. 2 (June 2007) 229.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2007) 149
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 732, 737, 740, 744.
 Theological Studies, Vol. 69, No. 1 (January 2008) 193, 194.
 Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, Supplement (2004) 41, 50.
 Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2004) 296-297.
 Greyfriars Review, Vol. 18, No. 3 (2004) 250.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 4 (October 2007) 748.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 70, No. 3 (July 2008) 532.
 the Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Vol. 69, No. 2 (April 2007) 275.