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The Book of Ben Sira: Connecting the Jews All Over the Greek World E-mail
Written by Charles Buttigieg   
Monday, 06 January 2014 15:16

The book of Ben Sira  is signed by its author, Jesus son of Eleazar, son of Sirach (50:27). Hence the author’s name was Jesus, Eleazar his father, and Sira his grandfather. From the prologue we know that his grandson translated the book into Greek from the original Hebrew.   Unlike most other wisdom works which do not seem to reflect closely a particular period, the book was written in a precise period dominated by Hellenism.  A Judean scribe of encyclopedic intelligence, Ben Sira lived with his family in Jerusalem  where he conducted a wisdom school (51:23) and wrote the book between 195 and 175 B.C.  Being a traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, he did not directly claim to be a prophet, although he stated that his teaching was inspired in 39:6-7.

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Identifying the Great Voice in Rev 21:3a E-mail
Written by Andreas Hoeck   
Monday, 06 January 2014 15:07

A rather thorny issue is the identification of the ‘loud voice from the throne’ that makes its appearance in the book of the Apocalypse of Saint John (Rev. 21:3a). The majority of commentators argue that it is not opportune to attempt to identify the subject of this voice.

However, we opine that the matter deserves a closer look not least due to the portrayal of the throne in Rev 20:11:

'I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace' (NJB).

First of all, this seemingly mysterious agent is not incorporated into the schematic description of the line of communication in Rev 1:1, and thus appears to be unquestionably of minor importance in the revelatory process as such. Yet, the intensity of performance and the momentous character of its message – directly preceding the divine voice in Rev 21:6-8 – suggests its weighty role within the present discourse.  Its superlative content, Rev 21:3b-4, arouses deep excitement and curiosity.

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‘My Mystery is for Me’: a Saying of Jesus? E-mail
Written by Dominic White OP   
Monday, 06 January 2014 15:01

For it is not in the way of envy that the Lord proclaimed in a certain Gospel (τινι εὐαγγελίῳ), ‘My mystery is for me, and for the sons of my house’ (μυστήριον ἐμὸν ἐμοὶ καὶ τοῖϛ ὑιοῖς τοῦ οἴκου μου). 

So says Clement of Alexandria (ca.150-215) in a passage of the Miscellanies (Stromateis) on the opinions of the Apostles regarding the veiling of the mysteries of faith. But which Gospel could be the source of this saying (henceforth ‘the Mystery Saying’)? It is not found in the canonical Gospels. In the same passage Clement quotes extensively from the canonical New Testament (e.g. Eph. 3:3-5; Col. 1:9-11, 25-27; Heb. 5:12-14, 6:1), and from the Epistle of Barnabas. Also he often cites the lost Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Egyptians. The former is cited also by Didymus the Blind, Jerome and Origen, and only Origen wrote of it disapprovingly.  Fragments of the Gospel of the Egyptians survive only in Clement, who notes in one passage how it is misused by heretics, probably Gnostics.  But these numerous citations make it unlikely that either of these extra-canonical texts is the unnamed ‘certain Gospel’. Ehrmann and Pleše follow the scholarly tradition of classifying the Mystery Saying as an agraphon, an ‘unwritten thing’: that is, words ascribed to Jesus which have been transmitted outside the canonical Gospels.

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The Bible in the Church since Vatican II E-mail
Written by Henry Wansbrough OSB   
Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:49

The fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Vatican II provides an opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary changes which have taken place in the Roman Catholic Church in the attitude to and use of the Bible. At the time of Vatican II the Church was still emerging from a shell-shocked and timorous period following the vigorous repression by Church authorities of the excesses of the Catholic Modernist movement in the opening years of the twentieth century.

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The Year of Faith: Paul’s Strategy of Evangelisation E-mail
Written by Nicholas King SJ   
Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:45

The year-and-a-bit from October 2012 (the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council) to the feast of Christ the King in November 2013, has been declared a Year of Faith by the Pope, with the particular aim of underlining the importance of preaching the gospel to a world that seems largely indifferent to it. It seems good, therefore, to inspect the ‘gospelling’ of one of the most determined preachers in the early Church, namely St Paul, who proudly proclaimed himself the ‘Apostle of the Gentiles’.

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Faith in the Epistle to the Hebrews E-mail
Written by Richard Ounsworth OP   
Sunday, 20 January 2013 20:41

In this essay I explore the notion of faith that emerges from the Epistle to the Hebrews. I begin, naturally enough, with the seeming definition of faith offered by Hebrews 11:1, arguing that the concept is as much as an ontological as an epistemological one. One of the difficulties with Hebrews 11, it might be felt, is that it appears to define faith without reference to Christ (or very nearly); but in the second part I turn my attention to the way in which Hebrews frames its eleventh chapter with expressions that make it clear that its understanding of faith is profoundly Christological, in particular by describing Jesus as ‘pioneer and perfecter of faith’ in 12:2.

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The Voice of the Bridegroom, the Record of John? Some Thoughts on John 3:29 E-mail
Written by Michael Tait   
Monday, 02 July 2012 16:37

Michael Tait holds the Licence in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the PhD from the University of Manchester.

The difference in emphasis between the Johannine Baptist and the John of the Synoptics is well-known: whereas the latter is portrayed as an eschatological prophet preaching repentance, the focus of the former is almost exclusively on his role as a witness to Jesus.  Related to this basic contrast, two other differences in detail are worth noticing. Only in the Fourth Gospel does John describe himself as the Voice in the Wilderness (1:23), and only there does he describe Jesus as the Bridegroom.

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