Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ask me about the Bible... I'm Catholic!

That conference was phenomenal. I normally avoid institutional Bible study material... but I am SOLD on this. The Bible Timeline is incredible. Believe it or not, it's basically the same method for studying Scripture that the Catholic Church used almost a thousand years ago (but which kind of got lost along the way).

The Great Adventure Bible Studies series have a simple goal: to make people say, "You know a lot about the Bible... you must be Catholic!" I am psyched about this. I've learned things that I can bring into the Bible Study I facilitate already at another parish, and I can't wait to start the Bible Timeline study at my own parish.

Here are 22 pages of notes (126 K, in MS Word format) that I took at the lectures I attended. These are the topics:
  • Friday
    • Keynote: Scripture in the Life of the Church – Dr. Tim Gray
    • Eight Keys for Unlocking Scripture – Dr. Ted Sri
    • How to Facilitate a Small Group – Dr. Tim Gray
    • Bible Study Materials and Resources – Thomas Smith
    • Panel: Stump the Bible Scholars – Jeff Cavins, Dr. Tim Gray, Dr. Ted Sri
  • Saturday
    • A Biblical Walk-Through of the Mass – Dr. Ted Sri
    • Increasing the Effectiveness of Your Bible Study: Problem-Solving Workshop for Study Leaders – Dr. Tim Gray & Jeff Cavins
    • Why Study the Bible Timeline – Dr. Tim Gray
    • Geography of the Bible – Jeff Cavins
    • Increasing Your “Prophet” Margins – Thomas Smith
    • Lectio Divina: The Ancient Technique for Praying with Scripture – Dr. Tim Gray
    • The Living Timeline: The Story Continues in You – Jeff Cavins


Gretchen said...

This looks like a wonderful Bible study. Would love to get involved in one at some point. Thanks for posting.

Moonshadow said...

I'll ask you about the program: does it cover every book of the Bible?

A woman I spoke with last week who is doing the Great Adventure series in her parish (Metuchen diocese, priest-led) says it skips Chronicles, First and Second.


japhy said...

It covers 14 books of the Bible which tell a straight narrative. It does not include 1 & 2 Chronicles per se, because it uses 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. 1 & 2 Chronicles basically overlap those (although there is additional material in them). The study might include a BIT of reading from the other books, but it is not centered on them.

Moonshadow said...


Moonshadow said...

One more praxis question:

What is so important about the Christian learning the history of Israel as recorded in the Bible?

Why study the details of Abraham and the Patriarchs, the Conquest, the Monarchy, the Divided Kingdom and the post-exilic period?

(IMO, the Exodus, the Exile and persecution under the Greeks and Romans are important for Christians to study.)

Isn't it enough to know the general principles that Israel had a covenant relationship with Yahweh, they failed to keep their end of the bargain, he punished them and then restored them, over and over and over again?

Why bother about whether Manasseh was good or not, for instance? (2 Kings 21:1-3ff; 2 Chr. 33:10-13).

cf. Chart of Kings.

japhy said...

Moonshadow, one of the chief reasons is the typology. I attended a non-denominational Bible Study about a year ago where a man mentioned that the Apostles couldn't get that gambling bug out of their system in Acts 1, when they cast lots to determine who would replace Judas. He was linking the Apostles' action to that of the soldiers at the cross.

But he missed entirely that just as Acts begins with a casting of lots to appoint an Apostle, Luke's Gospel begins with a casting of lots leading to Zechariah being in the Temple, which was set up back in Chronicles. The Apostles used a priestly method of determination... perhaps because they recognized themselves as priestly ministers of the New Covenant?

If you don't know the details of the near-sacrifice of Isaac; or of Moses sitting on a rock on a hill with his arms raised, with a man on either side of him, interceding for victory for Israel in battle; or of the bronze serpent on a pole; or of the journey the Ark of the Covenant took; or of countless other O.T. things, you won't see how they point to Christ and to Mary.

If you read John's gospel first, and you get to John 2:4 where Jesus calls Mary "woman", you might -- like many Protestants -- assume he's being cross with her. But if you put it in context, you'll see that this is the seventh day recorded in John's Gospel (which begins with "in the beginning"), and in Genesis (which begins with "in the beginning"), on the seventh day, Adam called the first female "Woman". The "old" Woman is Eve, the mother of all who live (and die) in Adam; the "new" Woman is Mary, the mother of all who live in Christ, the new Adam.

The history of Israel is OUR history. It gives context to the history and traditions and life of the Church.

japhy said...

Not to mention the biggest typological blunder of Protestantism which sees the crucifixion as simply a punishment or a substitution, and not as the MOST HOLY SACRIFICE.

When a Protestant calls the crucifixion a "sacrifice", it is usually meant in the secular way, like Jesus "taking one for the team", perhaps, or at best taking the punishment we deserved. That's where "penal substitution" and "vicarious atonement" come from.

But the Catholic understanding of the crucifixion and the sacrifice on Calvary is rooted in the sacrificial theology of the Old Testament which was utterly fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Christ's was the ultimate and perfect sacrifice, and thus is the perfect means of atonement. (See here for more details.)

For a Protestant, nothing can be gained (or desired) by joining ourselves to Christ on the cross and offering ourselves with Christ (the perfect sacrifice) to the Father. When St. Paul speaks of being "crucified with [Jesus]" (Rom. 6:6, cf. Gal. 2:20), Protestants simply understand this in a way meaning that Paul is dead to sin, and not that we unite ourselves to Christ's crucifixion and sacrifice, offering ourselves with Jesus to the Father.

In the words of Vatican II's Presbyterorum Ordinis, n. 5: "Thus the Eucharistic Action, over which the priest presides, is the very heart of the congregation. So priests must instruct their people to offer to God the Father the Divine Victim in the Sacrifice of the Mass, and to join to it the offering of their own lives." This was said a few decades before by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei, nn. 80, 98, 99.

Moonshadow said...

the Apostles couldn't get that gambling bug out of their system

Ugh. How puritan.

Typology. OK.

I would call the casting lots example "intertextuality", but I agree on Isaac, etc. I know the seven-days bit that starts John's Gospel. I agree on new Eve, in principle, but I'd say you've stretched the text to achieve it.

Vicarious atonement is objectionable to a Catholic?

japhy said...

Sorry, I meant "vicarious punishment". Like God taking out His wrath on Jesus.

As for the "stretch", it's not mine. Other Catholic biblical scholars have made the link... I just happen to agree with it. :)

japhy said...

Also, regarding "woman", Jesus calls Mary that twice in John's gospel (2:4, 19:26) at rather key moments (the beginning of his ministry and the end of his life). He also uses the term for Mary Magdalene (John 20:13-15) and to the woman charged with adultery (8:10). Is it taken as a term of rudeness or harshness then?

And the very fact that Mary responds to Jesus (in 2:5) positively, and Jesus responds positively in turn, suggests that Jesus did not have a bone to pick with her.

Moonshadow said...

As for the "stretch", it's not mine.

How do I say this politely? I'm sure it's not yours. :-)

Is it taken as a term of rudeness or harshness then?

Are those the only alternatives, she's the new Eve or she's put down?

No, Jesus didn't break a Commandment in addressing His mother as "Woman." Fair 'nuff?