Saturday, October 3, 2009

What if the Bible didn't exist? (Part 2)

Recently, I conducted an interview with Dr. Witless Blather from D.C. Dr. Blather is well-known for his cutting edge commentary and interesting facts concerning the Bible. Following is Part 2 of this interview:

DAB: What did Martin Luther base these decisions on?

DWB: Martin Luther was a 16th century German monk. He was disturbed by certain things which he viewed as anomalies in his studies. For example, he didn’t agree with the doctrine of Tradition.

DAB: What was that doctrine and why didn’t he agree with it?

DWB: Tradition is a doctrine in the Catholic Church which is the oral or unwritten Word. According to the Catholics, Tradition and Scripture are the sources of all Christian doctrine. It is the Christian indirect Rule of Faith. He didn’t agree with certain abuses within the Catholic Church and resulted in confrontations between him and the hierarchy of the church. Luther didn’t agree with Tradition as a legitimate rule of faith because it was in conflict with the scripture. Ultimately, Luther accused the Catholic Church of corrupting Christian doctrine and distorting Biblical truths.

DAB: So, due to an internal conflict in the Catholic Church, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura was adopted by Luther as being the only Rule of Faith instead of both Tradition and Scripture. Is this validated anywhere in the Bible?

DWB: No. Protestants often reference 2nd Timothy 3:16-17 as validation, but that is debatable. St. Paul often referred to his Hebrew teachings as a basis for his understanding.

DAB: In other words, Paul had his own agenda and so did Luther.

DWB: Possibly so. Many years went by after the Biblical canon before Sola Scriptura even became an issue.
DAB: Very true. Most people up until the time of the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg, circa 1439, were illiterate. The Catholic monks hand copied the Biblical documents and became the middle men between the masses and God. Most of the education of the story of Christ was conveyed through art and stained glass art in the churches. 1400 years went by without Sola Scriptura being an issue.

DWB: The books of the Protestant Bible as it stands today were canonized in the 4th century C.E. Several Catholic Councils determined the validity of the books included in the canon. Scripture and Tradition were the benchmarks of the Rule of Faith for Christians.

DAB: Concerning the biblical manuscripts that the monks copied by hand, didn’t this create many variations and interpretations based on Greek to Latin translations, geographic idioms and language nuances?

DWB: Yes, it did. There are hundreds of Bible versions that were hand copied from monk to monk and the Bible as we know it today wasn’t available to the individual believer until the 15th century when the printing press was invented and the Bible could be mass duplicated. The Jewish Bible contains 24 books, the Catholics have 73 books, the Orthodox Christians have 78 books and the Protestants have 66 books in their Bible.

DAB: With all these different books being accepted and rejected by church hierarchies, how did the Bible get written in verses?

DWB: There are several stories about this but the most popular is that a Dominican monk traveling throughout Europe on a donkey occupied his time by re-translating the Koine Greek of the New Testament into Latin and he made each thought as stated into a verse and numbered them.

DAB: Let’s recap. Martin Luther came to his own conclusions about the interpretation of the Bible by the Catholic Church. I’m curious to know more about the state of mind and psychological makeup of Martin Luther. Was he mentally stable or did he suffer any mental health problems?

DWB: Yes, there were definite psychological and emotional problems that Martin Luther displayed. More to come…

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