Resources & Materials

★Latest Additions (February 07th, 2019)★

On Kenny on Aquinas on Being – Dr. Gyula Klima, Fordham University

On Transubstantiation – G.E.M. Anscombe

The Interpretation of The Bible in the Church – Pontifical Biblical Commission (1993)

Dionysius Aropagita: A Christian Mysticism? by Alexander Golitzin (Marquette University)

Revisiting the ‘Sudden’: Epistle III in the Corpus Dionysiacum by Alexander Golitzin (Marquette University)

The Logic of the Incarnation – Dr. Einar Duenger Bøhn

Quadragesimo Anno – Catholic Social Teaching, PDF

Rerum Novarum – Catholic Social Teaching, PDF

Philosophy of Religion

Is Theism Really a Miracle? – A Response to “The Miracle of Theism” – Dr. Alvin Plantinga, PDF

God and Other Minds – Dr. Alvin Plantinga, Google Book (preview)

Reformed Epistemology – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article

Warranted Christian Belief – Dr. Alvin Plantinga, Google Book (preview)

Religion & Science: Where the Conflict Really Lies – Dr. Alvin Plantinga, lecture

Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism – Dr. Alvin Plantinga, lecture

The Experience of God: Being, Consciousness, Bliss – Dr. David B. Hart, lecture

Hume’s Abject Failure – Dr. John Earman, PDF

Miracles and David Hume – Dr. John A. Cramer, article

Divine Aseity and the Challenge of Platonism – Review – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, William Lane Craig

Christological Argumentation

The Resurrection of God Incarnate – Review – Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, Swinburne

The Resurrection of the Son of God – book by Dr. Nicholas Thomas Wright, explores posteriori evidence for the Resurrection, received praise from Antony Flew. A decent video lecture can be found here.

Biblical Stuff

The Complete Septuagint in English and Greek

The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary – Dr. Richard Thomas France, Google Book (preview)

Dr. Michael S. Heiser lecture on the “Two Powers in Heaven” motif in the OT

The Delay of the Parousia, Dr. Bauckham, PDF

The Focus of Mark 13:24-27, Dr. Thomas Hatina, PDF

Criticisms of “Dying and Rising God” as a category – Wikipedia article

The Religious Polemics of Amos – Dr. Hans M. Barstad, p.151, “…we know that there is no evidence of any dying and rising deity to be found in these [Ugaritic] myths.”

The Ugaritic Baal Cycle vol 1 – Dr. Mark S. Smith, p. 73, “It would appear unwarranted to assume that Baal is “a dying and rising god.”

Jewish Recognition of Trinitarian Facts – (not scholarly but contains many scholars’ quotes), Youtube video

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist – Dr. Brant Pitre, lecture

Does Philo Help Explain Early Christianity? – Dr. Larry Hurtado, PDF

Making Sense of Prophecy – Dr. Robert B. Chisholm, PDF

Intersections of Scripture and Theology – Dr. David B. Hart, lecture video

Related to The Holy Trinity

St. Gregory of Nyssa’s Solution to the Logical Problem of the Trinity, Dr. Beau Branson, PDF

Positive Mysterianism Undefeated – Dr. James N. Anderson, PDF

Not Three Gods – St. Gregory of Nyssa, complete online version

Thomas Aquinas’ Views – Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy article

Trinity and Mystery part 1, part 2  – blog series, Dr. Ed Feser

Plotinus’ Triad vs. Holy Trinity, part 1, part 2, part 3 – blog series, Dr. Ed Feser

Dr. David B. Hart discusses – Closer to Truth video

Logic and the Absolute – Phillip Sherrard, essay

Trinity, Logic, and the Transcendence of Transcendence – Fr. Aiden Kimel, blog

Teleology Articles & Lectures

Finality Revived: powers and intentionality – by Dr. David S. Oderberg, PDF

Teleology: Inorganic and Organic – by Dr. David S. Oderberg, PDF

Dr. Ed Feser lecture on Final Causes, Youtube video

Ethical Stuff

Why I’m Not a Consequentialist – Dr. David S. Oderberg, PDF

The Anti-Theology of the Body – Dr. David B. Hart, article

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Pagan Prophecies of Christ?

Today I will briefly share two curious pre-Christian foreshadowings of Christ.220px-Virgil_
These represent what C.S. Lewis once referred to as the “queer dreams” that God gave to the Gentiles in order to till the intellectual soil for the coming of Christ. It is obvious that neither of the authors from my examples had any idea the later significance that their words would someday take on, but this fact not relevant.

The first, from Roman poet Virgil’s Eclogue 4. In this poem, Virgil (circa 70 to 19 BC) seems to allude to (or possibly have been influenced by) Isaiah’s prophecy of the Virgin Birth and the coming of the Messiah’s generation:

“Now the Virgin returns, the reign of Saturn returns; now a new generation descends from heaven on high. Only do you, pure Lucina, smile on the birth of the child, under whom the iron brood shall at last cease and a golden race spring up throughout the world! Your own Apollo now is king!
But for you, child, the earth untilled will pour forth its first pretty gifts, gadding ivy with foxglove everywhere, and the Egyptian bean blended with the laughing briar; unbidden it will pour forth for you a cradle of smiling flowers. Unbidden, the goats will bring home their udders swollen with milk, and the cattle will not fear huge lions. The serpent, too, will perish, and perish will the plant that hides its poison; Assyrian spice will spring up on every soil.[…]
Yet will a few traces of old-time sin live on, to bid men tempt the sea in ships, girdle towns with walls, and cleave the earth with furrows. A second Tiphys will then arise, and a second Argo to carry chosen heroes; a second war will be fought, and great Achilles be sent again to Troy.”


Source: https://www.theoi.com/Text/VirgilEclogues.html#4

——————————————————————-

The second foreshadowing comes from Plato’s The Republic, in which Glaucon unwittingly admits that a truly just man would wind up crucified.

“Though he [the just man] do no wrong he must have the repute of the greatest injustice, so that he may be put to the test. … But let him hold on his course unchangeable even unto death, seeming all his life to be unjust though being just. … Such being his disposition the just man will have to endure the lash, the rack, chains, the branding iron in his eyes, and finally, after every extremity of suffering, he will be crucified.” (Republic II, 380 BC)

The similarities here between Glaucon’s “just man” and the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah chapter 53 (700 BC or 587 BC, depending on your presuppositions) are clear.

The translation of “crucified” here can be found in Paul Shorey’s translation, as well as Allan Bloom’s translation. Some translations say “impaled.”

You can read the full dialog here: https://minerva.leeds.ac.uk/bbcswebdav/pid-2393223-dt-content-rid-911924_4/institution/ARTS/IDEA/xShare/MAAPE/module1/Plato2.pdf

Did the Early Church Abuse the Septuagint? A look at St. Peter’s argument in Acts 2

(All Biblical quotations will use RSVCE unless stated otherwise)

It is sometimes argued that the arguments given by St. Peter and St. Paul in their citations of Psalm 15 (16) were only made possible by the unique word choices of the Greek Septuagint (with the implication that, had they been working from the Hebrew version, they could not have made their arguments).

Let’s look at how St. Peter uses the Psalms to argue for Resurrection in Acts 2:25-27 (quoting Psalm 15(16)):

For David says concerning him,

‘I saw the Lord always before me,
for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken;
26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced;
moreover my flesh will dwell in hope.
27 For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades,
nor let thy Holy One see corruption.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life;
thou wilt make me full of gladness with thy presence.’

Now, the Greek version of this Psalm indeed says “corruption” (διαφθοράν) whereas the Hebrew for this verse says “the pit” (שָֽׁחַת). And thus it could be argued that this Psalm is not talking about someone dying and coming back to life, but rather a living person giving thanks for God saving him from a risky situation.

There are, however, many scholars who have pointed out the issues with this view.
Rather than delve deeply into whether or not “the pit” (שָֽׁחַת) had a connotation of physical decay or not (and there is evidence in the Qumran scrolls that seems to point in that direction), I would like to point out a little known Rabbinical Jewish commentary on this Psalm.

In Midrash Tehillim 16:10, it says

“My flesh also dwelleth in safety (Ps. 16:9)- dwells in safety even after death. R. Isaac said: This verse proves that neither corruption nor worms had power over David’s flesh.”

(See Dr. Yuzuru Miura’s analysis of the relevant passages here: https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=R-GFSjpFhV4C&lpg=PA142&ots=Ni2wTVpjlA&dq=yuzuru%20miura%20r.%20isaac%20says%20flesh%20corruption&pg=PA142#v=onepage&q=yuzuru%20miura%20r.%20isaac%20says%20flesh%20corruption&f=false)

How about that! A Rabbinical Jewish commentary, working from the Hebrew text, arrives at a similar conclusion to St. Peter (albeit relying on the previous verse about “flesh”).

I think it is very possible that St. Peter’s argument may have also been drawing on verse 9, since he also quotes the Psalm as saying “moreover my flesh will dwell in hope”, which is the verse that motivates the conclusion in Midrash Tehillim.

Now, in Acts 13, Paul also quotes Psalm 15 (16) and leaves out verse 9 about the flesh dwelling in safety. However, it should be pointed out that the Apostles chose their verses in accordance to their respective audiences. Perhaps Peter left verse 9 in as he was addressing more conservative Jews, and Paul left it out because he was addressing a more Hellenized audience steeped solely in the Septuagint translation.

At any rate, I just think it’s interesting to point out that with the presence of Verse 9, both Christians and Jews (regardless of whether they’re working from the Hebrew or the Greek) could arrive at similar conclusions.

St. Augustine’s Clouds

I was recently reading St. Thomas Aquinas’ Catena Aurea commentary on Luke’s Gospel. For those that do not know, the Catena Aurea consists of commentary on the Gospels from various Church Fathers, round robin style.

At one point, St, Augustine comments on the verse in Luke’s Gospel about “the Son of Man coming in the clouds” (Luke 21:27) as being related to the clouds of the Church (most likely referring to the ecclesia as such, and perhaps the incense, which was in use in the late 4th century, as well as the Eucharist in general):

But the words, coming in the clouds, may be taken in two ways. Either coming in His Church as it were in a cloud, as He now ceases not to come. But then it shall be with great power and majesty…

Now, this immediately struck me as quite a strange interpretation. Suffice it to say, I felt that St. Augustine was reaching a bit too far with his clouds↔︎Church comparison.

That is, until I ran across Dr. Paul Heger’s book The Development of Incense Cult in Israel on Google Books. Dr. Heger is professor of Near and Middle East Civilizations at the University of Toronto.

It dawned on me that St. Augustine’s interpretation was not too far off from the beliefs of the ancient Israelites regarding the coming of the Lord in the “clouds” of the Temple.

Salient excerpts from this work are available as previews on Google Books, which you can read by clicking here. I will, for convenience sake, type out parts that I found the most interesting below.

The linkage between incense and theophany is recorded by Josephus as the belief of the people. There is no mention of incense burning in 1 Kings, and one has the impression that Josephus was attempting to prepare the reader for the event of the appearance of the cloud in verse 106, and offer, if only indirectly by allusion, a rational explanation for that miraculous event.”

“The Talmud, as we see, considers is that the phrase … refers to the incense, and thus that God will appear through the cloud of incense.” (p. 218)

Bayerlin understands … Lev. 16:2 to refer to the smoke derived from the “censer full of coals of fire in Yahweh’s shrine,” in which God appears above the atonement cover of the ark.[108] Noth considers the incense celebration by the high priest approaching the atonement cover as an apotropaic measure: The burning of incense would make the mercy seat above the ark, specially ‘dangerous’ through the divine presence, invisible.”[109] As we have seen, he speculates that the “censing belonged from the start to the to the material of this (special atonement) ritual but even in that case, the putting of the “incense on the fire before the Lord, [so that] the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover… so that he will not die (Lev. 16:13),”  is closely related to the presence of God at this ritual. (p. 221)

This statement reverts back to my thesis that the cultic association between the incense celebration and theophany, as well as the danger, were utilized, if not exploited, by the priests…. (p. 222)

…This, however, would still not preclude there having been some form of cloud ritual, carried out at the First Temple before the ark. There is no dispute among scholars concerning the antiquity of the relationship between the cloud theophany and Israelite mythology. (p. 240 footnote 150)

The phrase [in Leviticus 16:2]…  “because I appear in the cloud over the atonement cover,” leaves us perplexed as to his exact meaning. … [D]oes it mean God will appear within the smoke of the incense brought in by Aaron? … Eliger declares that this phrase does not indicate God’s appearance on the atonement cover [98] but rather the merciful concealment of the Deity’s awe-inspiring presence. Beyond this, I have not encountered any scholarly discussion as to whether this specific phrase should be understood as meaning that God dwells on the atonement cover, which must then be concealed by the smoke of the incense, or that the Deity will appear at Aaron’s invocation with the incense smoke [99]. It may be that this topic is considered to be subsumed within the general enigma of the character of the theophany.  (p. 217)

“… the homiletic interpretation however, on the other hand, is that the phrase refers to the cloud of incense inside which the priest should enter in order to meet the Deity.” (p. 218, footnote 100)

Rashbam understands that the phrase … does refer to the Deity … “since I am seen all the time in the cloud upon the atonement cover… and if the priest (sees me) he would die”; therefore God has commanded that the priest must burn incense first to darken the house with the incense cloud when he enters.”

As we can see from the above, ancient Israelites truly believed that the Lord became present in the Temple to the High Priest via clouds (of incense).

Those interested in this theme should definitely check out the book linked above for more details. While I did not quote the passage, Dr. Heger claims that it was during Yom Kippur that the most incense was burned (in attempt to create clouds for the High Priest to meet with the Lord).

With this in mind, one cannot help but notice the connection to the scene in the Gospels when Jesus is on trial before the High Priest Caiaphas and claims “Nevertheless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

It is probable that this was (among other things) a claim that, henceforth, the deity which Caiaphas would be encountering in the Temple (itself considered a microcosm of heaven and earth) clouds would be none other than Jesus himself!

The Most Embarrassing Verse: Enoch and the Gospels

Introduction

Does the Book of Enoch have anything of importance to tell us about the Synoptic ダウンロードGospels? Despite the great progress that has been made in refining the historical-critical method in order to understand the synoptic texts, such methods and intensive analyses have only recently been applied to the Enochic corpus. Moreover, professional Enochic scholarship and “historical Jesus” scholarship are often too compartmentalized in academia to be brought into conversation with one another.

Dr. Loren T. Stuckenbruck and Dr. Gabrielle Boccaccini in their volume 1 Enoch and the Synoptic Gospels make a valiant effort at bringing these two spheres of Second Temple scholarship into conversation with one another. As the authors of said text point out, there is a “possible genetic connection between early Enochic tradition and the presentation of Jesus as Son of Man in the Synoptic Gospels. […] [A] conversation with Enochic tradition can be profitable, without requiring a close-knit argument that the one tradition has had an influence upon the other.” [1]

[1] Stuckenbruck, L. and Boccaccini, G. (n.d.). Enoch and the Synoptic Gospels. pp.7,9.

This paper shall seek to show that bringing the Synoptic Gospels into conversation with 1 Enoch can shed light on what has become commonly known in biblical scholarship as the “delay of the parousia.” While scholars ranging from Albert Schweitzer to Bart Ehrman have argued that the historical Jesus preached his Second Coming would occur within the 1st century, other widely respected scholars such as G. B. Caird, Richard France, and N. T. Wright have argued for understanding the fall of the Jerusalem Temple as the locus of Jesus’ prophecies. Renowned Yale historian Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan wrote that “[O]ne looks in vain for proof of a bitter disappointment over the postponement of the parousia or a shattering of the early Christian communities by the delay of the Lord’s return.” [2] Pelikan, J.  The  Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 1  pp. 124

This is the evidence that historians must find an explanation for. If the early Church sincerely understood the Olivet Discourse as referring to the end of the world (not, as I will argue, something else), then we would certainly have found signs of defectors and bitterly disappointed writings after 70 AD came and went. Not only do we not find this, we tend to see the opposite. Our “Enochic Answer” will seek to offer a novel way to explain these facts.

Apocalypse Now?

Throughout the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus makes numerous references to his contemporaries as “this wicked generation” (for similar references see, for example, Mark 8:12, Luke 9:41, Luke 11:29, Matthew 16:4, Matthew 12:39). This culminates in the shocking claim made in Matthew 24:34,  “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”

However, as we pointed out our introduction, studies of early church documents and the surrounding historical milieu reveal no shattering of the early Christian communities when this prediction failed to manifest itself. We must tread cautiously here, as it is far too easy to retroactively read two-thousand years of significance into Jesus’ words and thereby divorce ourselves from the way in which Jesus’ 1st century disciples, Second Temple Jews, would have understood them. Why didn’t Matthew 24:34 cause more scandal? Why wasn’t it omitted from later copies of the Gospels?

Insights from 1 Enoch

As we have already mentioned in our introduction, significance-filled terms such as “the Son of Man” were already being borrowed from the Enochic corpus and being utilized to convey certain meanings to the audiences of the Synoptic Gospels. It would not be importunate to ask, then, if perhaps the “γενεὰ” to which Christ constantly refers is of similar “Enochic significance.”

As it happens, in 1 Enoch 91, in the “Apocalypse of Weeks,” significance is given to a “wicked generation” which has long gone overlooked by modern scholarship. In the Apocalypse of Weeks, each prophetic “week” consists of one-thousand years. Enoch explains the course of Israel’s history and future over the course of ten prophetic weeks (or ten-thousand years). Weeks One through Six are considered “historic weeks” as they recount events in Israel’s history such as the Great Flood (Week Two), Abraham’s covenant (Week Three), the giving of the Torah to Moses (Week Four), the building of Solomon’s Temple (Week Five), and the destruction of the Temple and Exile (Week Six). This brings us to Week Seven, which the author of the Apocalypse of Weeks considered himself to be living in (approximately 100 BC[3]), and it is during Week Seven that a “wicked generation” arises and is given special attention in the prophecy. Dr. Loren T. Stuckenbruck writes, “The rise of evil in week two has its counterpart in the rise of the wicked generation at the start of week seven. The writer thus regards the wicked of his time as following the pattern of the rise of wickedness before the flood […] The First Temple (week five), which was burned (week six), is restored or rebuilt (week eight). Here, the writer bypasses the existence of the Second Temple of his day. The relation between the election recounted in week three (Abraham, the plant of righteousness) and the election mentioned in week seven (the chosen from the eternal plant of righteousness) involves a reduction. The “wicked generation” at the start of week seven denotes apostatizing members of Israel, while the chosen elect ones of that week are the true heirs of Abrahamic election.”[3] It is only in Week Ten (or approximately two to three thousand years later) that the “new heavens and new earth” finally make their appearance, consummating the eschaton.  [3]Stuckenbruck, L. (n.d.). 1 Enoch 91-108. pp.55-60.

What is significant here is that the rise of the “wicked generation” of 1 Enoch is unequivocally not a synonymous event with the consummation of the eschaton (which, again, only takes place at the conclusion of the Tenth Week). It therefore stands to reason that, speaking to an audience immersed in the Enochic milieu of the Second Temple period (again, see Stuckenbruck & Boccaccini for their work in showing these connections), the historical Jesus could well have been seen as casting his own generation as that of Week 7 in the Apocalypse of Weeks. More to the point, if the historical Jesus was indeed drawing on 1 Enoch in order to signify his own role as the Son of Man (and his own contemporaries as the “wicked generation” of Week 7) then it cannot be the case that Matthew 24:34’s “this generation shall not pass” is a prediction regarding the end of the space-time order. It would be, at most, a prediction that Week 7 on the Enochic timeline was about to be closed out, and Week 8 was about to begin. One must also keep in mind that Week 8 was to be the week in which, as Stuckenbruck notes, the chosen elect constructs a temple which would far surpass the glory of Herod’s temple. One can already see glimmers in the Pauline corpus portraying the individual members of the Church as “living stones” in the “temple of God.”

Conclusion

This short treatment has only been able to sketch the possibilities that lie in reading the Synoptic Gospels in the light of 1 Enoch. In doing so, we have seen that alternative explanations can be given to claims of a “delayed parousia.” If the historical Jesus was attempting to draw on 1 Enoch 91 in order to cast his contemporaries as the “wicked generation” of Week 7 in the Apocalypse of Weeks, then the likelihood that he was predicting the Second Coming and the end of the world within a forty-year period would be extremely diminished. It would be much more likely that he was asserting that Week 7 in the Enochic timeline was about to draw to a close, and that Week 8, the week in which the elect were to build the new temple, was about to launched (together with a new, spiritualized understanding of what that temple was to be like). The upshot of this interpretation is that is neatly explains the historical fact, noted by Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan, that there was no shattering of the early Christian community when the parousia failed to occur within forty-years’ time. The answer would appear to be that the early Christian communities simply did not understand Jesus to be predicting the end of the space-time order with his words. Rather, this is a presupposition that modern historical-critical scholars have mistakenly read into his words due to being unfamiliar with the broader milieu of Second Temple literature. While it is beyond the scope of this paper to develop these ideas to their fullest potential, we hope that this constructive proposal can help to drive biblical scholars to approach, such as the “delay of the parousia” in new ways by drawing on more recent developments in the broader corpus of Second Temple literature scholarship.

Bibliography

[1] Stuckenbruck, L. and Boccaccini, G. (n.d.). Enoch and the Synoptic Gospels. pp.7,9.

[2] Pelikan, J.  The  Christian Tradition: A History of the Development of Doctrine, Volume 1  pp. 124

[3]Stuckenbruck, L. (n.d.). 1 Enoch 91-108. pp.55-60.

The Eucharist as Parousia

It has been nearly a year since I wrote my views on the so-called “most embarrassing img_3757verse” in the Bible. At the time of that writing, however, I was not yet a Roman Catholic. Having now come to the fullness of the faith, I would like to share a take on the parousia that, as a Protestant, I never encountered. Dr. Scott Hahn explains in the passage below how the Real Presence (parousia) in the Eucharist constitutes a direct fulfillment of all that Jesus promised us. As I cannot due justice to this uniquely Catholic perspective myself, I will let Dr. Hahn do the explaining below.

The book is Catholic for a Reason: The Massand it can be purchased by following this link. All credit and thanks to Emmaus Road Publishing and the St. Paul Center for kindly allowing me to share this excerpt with you. Please visit them at http://www.stpaulcenter.com.

             Jesus had promised repeatedly that the kingdom was coming without delay. Midway though the “little apocalypse” of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says: “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all these things take place” (Mt. 24:35).

The Early Christians expected immediate fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecies. They expected an imminent parousia. Modern historians have found evidence of this expectation throughout the New Testament and the earliest Christian writings. The most ancient Eucharistic prayer that has survived, in the Didache, ends with the Aramaic word “Maranatha,” that is, “Come, Lord!” The Book of Revelation begins with a promise to show “what must soon take place” (Rev. 1:1) and ends with the same words as the liturgy in the Didache: “Come, Lord Jesus!” Biblical scholar Margaret Barker has identified the word “Maranatha!”- as the Church’s primal Eucharistic prayer: “This links the return of the LORD to the Eucharist. Other lines of [Didache’s] prayer are ambiguous: ‘Let this present world pass away’, for example, could imply either a literal understanding of the LORD’s return or the present transforming effect of the Eucharist. Maranatha in the Eucharist, however, must be the original epiklesis, praying for the coming of the LORD. [11]

Modern historians are right to point out the expectation of the apostolic age. They go wrong, however, when they conclude that the early Christians must have been disappointed with the passing of time. The apostate scholar Alfred Loisy observed that Jesus came promising the kingdom, but all He left behind was the Church. Loisy was disappointed by this turn of events, but the early Christians most certainly were not.

The early Christians knew that there would indeed be a Parousia at the end of time, but there was no less a parousia right now, whenever they celebrated the Mass. When Christ comes at the end of time, He will have no less glory than He has whenever He comes to His Church in the Mass. The only difference, then, is in what we see.

Faced with the evidence of the ancient liturgies, skeptics will sometimes resort to psychoanalyzing the ancients. They say that the idea of a “liturgical Parousia” was a late development and a coping mechanism for a disappointed Church. But it wasn’t late. Gregory Dix notes that it is in the very earliest of documents; indeed, some scholars estimate that the liturgy of the Didache could have been written no later than AD 48. [12] After reviewing all the ancient Eucharistic texts, Jaroslav Pelikan concludes: “The Eucharistic liturgy was not a compensation for the postponement of the Parousia, but a way of celebrating the presence of one who had promised to return.”[13]

After all, it was Jesus Himself who set such a high level of expectation in the Church; and it was Jesus Himself who pointed to its imminent fulfillment. Indeed, it was Jesus who established the Eucharist as an eschatological event – a Parousia- a coming of the King and the kingdom. We must not miss the small but significant details of the scriptural accounts of the Lat Supper. As Jesus takes the bread and wine, HE says to His apostles: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God . . . . I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Lk. 22:15 – 16, 18). As he institutes the sacrament, He institutes the kingdom. A moment later, He is speaking of the kingdom in term of a “table” (22:27) and a “banquet” (22:30) – language that will recur in the final chapters of the Book of Revelation. If we are looking for familiar apocalyptic language, we will find it aplenty in Luke’s account of the Last Supper – but we will find it always expressed in Eucharistic terms. Thus, Jesus, using language which calls to mind the Eucharistic element, goes on to speak of the apocalyptic trials, in which believers are “sift[ed] like wheat” (22:31).

No less an authority than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger has noted that the New Testament’s apocalyptic imagery is overwhelmingly liturgical, and the Church’s liturgical language is overwhelmingly apocalyptic. “The Parousia is the highest intensification and fulfillment of the liturgy,” he writes. “And the liturgy is parousia. . . .Every Eucharist is Parousia, the Lord’s coming, and yet the Eucharist is even more truly the tensed yearning that He would reveal His hidden Glory.” [14]

None of this precludes a parousia of Christ at the end of history. Theologians call that “coming” of Christ the “plenary parousia” – not because Christ will have a greater fullness then, but rather because we will be able to behold Him in His fullness, with our senses unveiled. For, since His coming, Christ is present in the world in a way that He was not in the Old Covenant; but He remains veiled in a way that He will not be at the end. The Catechism tells us: ”The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to His Father” (no. 2816).[…]

[…] The Catechism sums it up: “The Church knows that the Lord comes even know in his Eucharist and that he is there in our midst. However, his presence is veiled” (no. 1404). […] As Catholics, we must dare to take Jesus at His word and accept His promises on His terms. He promised us a glorious kingdom within His own generation – and, even today, we boldly proclaim that he made good on that promise. For all time, He has established His Eucharistic kingdom, the Church.

What Jesus promised and what He delivered are one and the same. He said He was coming soon – and He is! He said the kingdom is near – and it is. It’s as near as your local parish, where the King reigns in the Eucharist. O come, let us adore him!

Old Testament Excavations vol. 1

In this blog series, I am going to share small, interesting things I find in the Old Testament.
Since I am not a scholar or specialist, I may be mistaken about some of the facts.
The connections that I draw here may seem tenuous to some, but this is because I will be utilizing a “Sensus Plenior” hermeneutic for my reading of the scriptures. That is, unlike the modern Historical Critical method and similar approaches that insist we read the Bible in some sort of mechanistic, reductivist fashion (as Historical Criticism’s 19th century Germanic founders did), I will be looking “to describe the supposed deeper meaning intended by God but not by the human author.” [1]
All Bible verses quoted in this series will use, unless otherwise noted, the Douay-Rheims English translation. All screenshots of Hebrew taken from BibleHub.

For this first post in the series, I am actually going to do a two-for-one post and share two interesting tidbits I found in recent reading.

1) Strike the rock, strike the shepherd

In Exodus chapter 17 verse 6, God instructs Moses to strike a stone in order to procure drinking water for the Israelites in the desert.
“Behold I will stand there before thee, upon the rock Horeb: and thou shalt strike the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. Moses did so before the ancients of Israel”

The Hebrew word for “strike” here is “wə·hik·kî·ṯā,” which Strong’s Hebrew Concordance tells us the root of which is “nakah.”

nakah
Please keep this word in mind as we go along.

There is an interesting parallel between God’s command to Moses to strike the rock, and the “Song of the Sword” in the book of Zechariah.
Zechariah chapter 13 verse 7 – 9 reads:
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lord of hosts: strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn my hand to the little ones.”

Once again the commandment is given to strike- however this time it is to “the man that cleaveth to me” (or “the man who is close to me” in other translations).
The word for strike here is “haḵ-” which once again, Strong’s Hebrew Concordance tell us has the root “nakah.”
Thus the etymologically related “haḵ-” and “wə·hik·kî·ṯā” are cognates.

I have to think that St. Paul was conscious of this parallelism. As he writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 4,
“And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea:
And did all eat the same spiritual food,
And all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.)”

The piercing of the rock in Exodus forms a typological sequence that comes up again in Zechariah’s song of the sword striking God’s shepherd. And, finally,
St. Paul spells out explicitly what this all means when he says: “and the rock was Christ.”

2) I have graven thee in my hands, Yeshuah is ever before me

It may come as no surprise to many of my readers that the Hebrew word for “salvation” and the Hebrew name for Jesus are only one character apart.
The Hebrew word for “salvation” is “yeshuah” יְשׁוּעָ֥ה and the Hebrew name for Jesus is “Yeshua.” The spelling is identical, save for a final ה character.
And, of course, the two are etymologically linked, considering that the meaning of the name “Yeshua” is “God Saves.”

Yeshuah

Yeshua2

In Isaiah chapter 26 verse 1 (using the RSVCE translation this time) it says
“In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
“We have a strong city;
he sets up salvation[yeshuah]
as walls and bulwarks.”

This notion of “yeshuah” serving as the walls of a city is repeated in Isaiah chapter 60 verse 18 (again, using RSVCE):
“Violence shall no more be heard in your land,
devastation or destruction within your borders;
you shall call your walls Salvation [yeshuah],
and your gates Praise.”

Where this gets interesting, at least for me, is Isaiah chapter 49 verse 16, in which God tells Jerusalem he will not forget her:
“Behold, I have graven thee in my hands: thy walls are always before my eyes.”

However, these cannot be literal walls, as 26:1 and 60:18 make clear- the “walls” are “yeshuah” or “Salvation” as such.
Additionally, this may in fact be a prophecy of the crucifixion wounds which Christ sustained on the cross.
The word used for “graven” here is “ḥaq·qō·ṯîḵ,” which Strong’s Hebrew Concordance says the root of which is “chaqaq” or “A primitive root; properly, to hack, i.e. Engrave”
Brown Driver Briggs’ Hebrew Lexicon defines “chaqaq” as follows:

chaqaq

So the imagery of the “salvation” which is “graven” on YHWH’s hands is very much one of being “cut in” (not, as some translations say, “to draw” or “to write”)

One might be so bold as to emend Isaiah 49:16 to say “Behold, I have cut thee into my hands: thy walls (that is, thy salvation) is always before my eyes.”

※The above images taken from BibleHub.com’s various Hebrew Concordances:
https://biblehub.com/bdb/1.htm