Introduction to Theology, Serial No. 01126

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I don't think we need a stand because it makes too much noise, but we're going to pray.
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of those who believe in you, and kindle within them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created, and you will renew the face of the earth.
Let us pray.
May the outpouring of your Holy Spirit over all cleanse our hearts,
and make them fruitful by the inward sprinkling of his dew.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
I think I'm going to call this lecture just a general perspective of our work and its fundamentals.
You very probably here are accustomed to beginning your conferences and lectures with prayer anyway.
But I was particularly encouraged to begin our new little course in theology explicitly in this way,
because it really is my conviction, and I believe the conviction of the Fathers of the Church and our Fathers in monastic life,
that all real theology begins with prayer and should normally lead back into it.
However dark and dry and mysterious that prayer may sometimes be.
I was also given an additional push by reading of a priest who had somehow acquired a degree of Doctor of Theology,
and yet was rather surprised to meet with this customer at the beginning of certain theological lectures in Rome.
He was, I imagine, a typical of those many of my generation who were accustomed to thinking of theology primarily as an exalted classroom subject.
And on that account, on a more or less equal footing with any other academic pursuit.
Something to be mastered first and foremost with the aid of a textbook,
and therefore a subject in which one might gain credits or even degree without necessarily believing very much at all.
That idea of theology as professional life beside the spiritual life,
against which those of you who happen to have read my little book, Asking the Fathers,
will probably remember that really it's a fairly silent protest.
It was actually written very much in protest against that view of theology,
which I found very unbearable,
and therefore I made rather a nuisance of myself to my teachers,
because I was so often asking questions they thought were rather silly.
Now in referring to this frightening possibility,
that we might just treat the whole thing as very academic,
it's not of course my intention to say that theology as a subject of formal study is meant to be the same kind of thing as a homily.
Though it may often be more edifying than some homilies are.
Nor do I wish to deny that theology will need to help us to learn some technical language,
through thoughtfulness and precision.
And that it would therefore as such have at least some aspects which can, as far as words go,
be mastered with a certain amount of goodwill and attention.
But it's very much my intention to remind you that theology is a discipline which,
if it is to be alive and true, must remain aware that it's rooted in the mystery of faith,
and can only be authentically renewed from the sources of faith.
Now the exact meaning of that last phrase in relation to what we're going to be doing here,
will, I hope, begin to become clearer during the course of these first few lectures,
perhaps as we get to Numbers 7 and 8 or something like that.
For words like mystery, faith and source ought not to be so lightly used as they sometimes are,
on the assumption that everyone has agreed in advance as to what they mean in the context we are now speaking in.
For today I should be content, if I succeed in confronting you to begin with,
with something which was, I think, too seldom mentioned in the way I was myself taught,
and certainly never referred to as what might be called a theological aim,
though it bears a very close relationship to the aspect of mystery which necessarily underlies our work.
Not everyone who follows a course like this can be expected to become a doctor or master in theology,
but everyone can, I think, be expected, with its help,
to develop what I would like to call an overall theological sense.
This is a conviction I've long held,
but it was only as I was thinking and praying about how we should begin our work together
that I was forcibly struck one morning at vigils by a verse and response
which seemed to me exactly to be making the point I had in mind.
The phrases are based on the first letter of John, chapter 5, verse 20,
which I see the Revised Standard Version translates as
We know that the Son of God has come and given us understanding to know the true God.
The Latin I was using, because in fact I mostly say my office still in Latin when I'm saying it in private,
was Deidit nobis sensum, has given us a sense to know the true God.
Now, as a rendering of the original Greek, this is, I believe, better than the English word understanding,
preserving, as the double use of the word sense does,
the hint of something almost physical.
Like becoming aware that one has a very good burgundy in one's glass.
Or, if you prefer it, a good bourbon.
Certainly the Greek noun, the Latin and the English were supposed to be translating dianoion,
which comes from a verb, the Greek verb, that means, first of all, having in mind.
And it doesn't, of course, necessarily mean that we are immediately able to say a lot of things about what we have in mind.
But it disposes us, like giving us, as it were, a sixth sense,
to recognise the difference between the real thing and a second class fraud or a synthetic substitute.
My choice of where a connoisseur knows a good burgundy or whisky,
was, of course, deliberate, really, is this kind of sense.
Well, these things are very hard to talk about, but not, I think, too difficult to develop a sense for,
if one gets a chance to do it.
Now, I suppose if it were not possible to be deceived about what is compatible with sound belief in Christ our Lord, the Son of God,
theology might never have come into existence.
And perhaps even the Gospels would not have taken quite the form they do.
For although from very early times John's Gospel was seen to be a kind of apostolic theology,
and hence St John was the first to be known as the Divine of the theologian,
I believe that in recent years scholars, both Catholic and Protestant,
have been more and more forced to see that none of the Gospels is really giving us a straightforward piece of historical narrative,
in the modern sense of the word.
Am I going too fast for you, Brother Dino?
And indeed, occasionally, perhaps not so such verifiable history as some bits of John are.
But I think these scholars have been forced to see that one and all,
the Gospel writers, are seeing the person of our Lord through the believing eyes of a theologian, in order that we may believe.
In other words, they are always, in one way or another, leading us back to a confrontation with one
in whom, as the Letter to the Colossians says in chapter 2, verse 9,
all the fullness of the Godhead dwells bodily.
Another concentrated form of the same conviction is not only the prologue to the Gospel of John,
which is a very obvious one,
but the very elaborate opening sentence of the Letter to the Hebrews.
You'll remember how it goes, in many ways, many and various ways,
God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets,
but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.
In other words, although, as we may note by implication here,
the words of Holy Scripture are going to play an important role in what we shall be studying,
even more important than these words, or any reported words of our Divine Son,
of the Divine Son himself,
is that Word of God which he embodies in his person.
This embodiment is so rich that it's virtually inexhaustible.
Nor is it surprising that in the days of the early Church,
and again in our own day, I think,
which in so many ways renews the circumstances of those early days,
great theological battles should have been and are being fought
over what we mean by the person of Christ.
And I suppose we may add that it's hardly necessary to say
that the sources of our conclusions about these battles
will, in large measure, be determined by whether or not
our confrontation with the Son gives us personally a sense of the truth of God.
It seems to me that it's my grave duty to insist upon this point,
for although it flows primarily from reading Holy Scripture,
it is, in a certain way, an important way, I think,
prior to it and presupposed to that reading.
Evidently I'm saying that out of the fact which has simply been confronting
biblical scholars that all the Gospels are, in their own different ways,
really theological views of the person of our Lord.
I shall, for the most, ask St. Augustine today,
that most bodiless of fathers in so many ways,
to answer the question that may well have been forming itself in your minds
when I am saying something like this,
as he will also, I think, have known so very well,
came into the minds of many of his heroes as Hippo,
when he was talking to them,
to judge by the number of times he returns to this point
in sermons which have come down to us.
Namely, the question,
how can we, who have never had an opportunity of seeing the Son of God in the flesh,
come to an apprehension of his person as that which I'm speaking?
In substance, of course, Augustine is going to say
that our situation is not radically so different
from that which many actually did see our Lord,
and even touch him physically.
For, as he says many, many times in the course of his sermons,
many of those who did see him
never had any conception of who he really was.
But I prefer to let Augustine speak for himself in his direct and delightful way.
Augustine, of course, is one of the many fathers.
He's like St. Bernard in this way.
He could write and speak in quite a different style according to his audience.
You'll find that a book like The City of God, or The Confessions,
is addressed to a very,
one might call it a very cultivated, very sophisticated audience.
But when he's speaking to the people in Hippo,
then he's speaking in a very direct and very simple way.
And sometimes, of course, he's saying from the expressions on their faces,
I can see what you're thinking.
And things of that sort.
So all the time he's very simple and direct when he's talking in Hippos.
And I've chosen two passages from some sermons he preached during the Easter season,
which have been conveniently put together in one of the volumes of Sources Chr├ętien.
It's actually, for those of you who can use the Sources Chr├ętien,
which has a Latin and French translation,
it's volume 116 in these Easter sermons put together.
And the first one I want to mention is number 237,
where he begins with the resurrection appearance of the apostles in the Last Supper,
in the last chapter of St. Luke's Gospel,
when our Lord tells them to handle him and see.
It's Luke chapter 24, verse 39.
I think we're not for the moment concerned with Augustine's refutation of heresies
about the reality of our Lord's humanity.
But as Augustine points out, what the apostles believed,
like what Thomas believed when the offer was made to him personally,
was not, of course, something visible or tangible.
Let no one believe of Christ something other than he himself wished to be believed about him.
And what is Christ?
The Son of God, the Word of God.
But what is the Word of God?
The Word of God is something that a human word cannot express.
Do you ask me to tell you what the Word of God is?
Why, if I wish to tell you what a human word was,
I shouldn't really explain it.
It wears me down.
Of course, I give up.
I cannot explain the power of a human word.
How much more is this true of the Word of God?
Notice that before I say what I want to say to you,
there is a word in my heart.
I have not said it yet, and it's there in me.
It is said by me, and reaches you without leaving me.
You wait to hear a word from me, and I feed your minds when I speak.
If I offered you food for your stomachs,
you would divide it between you,
and the whole of it would not reach any of you.
But I have just given you food for your minds,
and the whole of it will barely reach you.
Any of you.
If I say, here you are, take and eat.
This is for everyone, and the whole reaches each of you.
So you see how the power of the human word cannot be explained.
Yet you say to me, what is the Word of God?
The Word of God feeds so many millions of angels.
I think you can see Gussie is not just playing here.
He is really, really helping one to concentrate upon the mystery of this is.
This mystery of the apprehension of the incarnate Word in the person of our Lord.
And then the next day, the Thursday of Easter week, in Sermon 246,
Gussie is speaking of our Lord's appearance to Mary Magdalene.
Who thinks he is the gardener.
And if you think of it, if we are the plants, Christ is the gardener.
Is he not the gardener who sowed a grain of mustard seed?
Which is spore and hot seed.
And he grows and shoots up and makes a tree big enough for the birth of the heir to take rest on its branches.
He himself said, if you had faith, like a grain of mustard seed,
mustard seed seems to be little enough, hardly worth noticing.
Yet nothing is stronger.
What is this other than the supreme warmth and hidden power of faith in the church?
And yet of course as he says, our Lord tells Mary Magdalene not to touch him.
And Gussie continues,
If she should not touch him standing on earth, would she have been able to touch him standing in heaven?
And so what does touching mean, other than believing?
For we touch Christ by faith.
And it is better not to touch him with our hand, yet touch him by our faith,
than it is to touch him with our hand and not by our faith.
The Jews touched him when they arrested him.
Touched him when they bound him.
Touched him when they hung him on the cross.
O Catholic Church, touch him by faith.
Touch him by faith.
And Gussie repeats it.
Were you to think that Christ was only a man, you would have touched him on earth.
But were you to believe that Christ the Lord is equal to the Father,
then you would have touched him when he ascended to the Father.
Thus he has ascended for us when we really understand who he is.
He ascended once in time, but now he ascends every day.
This conviction that the power of the mysteries of the Incarnate Son
is communicated to us now, is present now,
is, I think, of the utmost importance for the Catholic sense of theology.
I had actually just reached this point approximately in the preparation for this lecture.
When I had to translate for our use of visuals a new commandment,
one of my favourites of the Epiphany sermons of St. Leo the Great,
preaching 30 or 40 years later in Augustine,
where Leo is saying the same sort of thing about the mystery of the Epiphany.
And my commandment brothers will remember how we listened to St. Bernard saying
something almost identical of the Christmas mystery
in the splendid 6th or 7th paragraphs of the 6th sermon for the Vigil of Christmas.
Please don't feel very deprived about this,
because I'm going to provide you each with a copy of these two translations that I made,
so that you'll see how there's a very continuous contradiction,
quite different people who don't depend on each other
in thinking about the mystery of Christ in this way,
that the touching of Christ is first and foremost the touch of faith,
that really we aren't so much of it as we can't see our Lord walking through the door.
Because that by itself didn't really help everybody.
And you mustn't imagine that that experience of the immediacy of the Divine Presence
stops with the early 12th century.
Lots of things do appear to me almost to stop at that time,
but they don't quite.
To quote one example with which I'm rather specially familiar,
the great 17th century French cardinal de Berrieu,
perhaps you don't know him, I'd better write him up.
His name was Pierre.
He was a great centre of the extraordinary world of Paris in the 17th century.
Everybody knew him.
Francis of Sales knew him, Vincent de Paul, and so many other people.
And Berrieu began to study the Fathers of the Church, as far as one can see,
primarily because he had to be able to argue with Protestants.
But I think we may say that in the end it was the Fathers who converted him.
It's, I think, extremely sad that his wonderful central theological insight
about the presence of the mysteries of Christ to us now
is so little known to those who cannot read his very splendid 17th century French.
For I've never seen a substantial translation of him into English,
or even seen a satisfactory modern French edition of him
by comparison with the lovely early edition which I first read
sitting in the peace of due comforts, great old library at Oxford,
which must have been built somewhere about the same time as Berrieu was writing.
It's a lovely room, I know that.
If it's an afternoon like this, it would be wonderful to sit there today.
But my purpose in this entire course, including today,
is not just empty nostalgia, which would in any case be, of course,
in direct contradiction with what I've just been saying.
And so I should like to show you how this theological sense
never dies by sharing with you a fine passage
from a great modern German theologian, Karl Rahner,
who must, I calculate, be 80 this year, since he was born in 1904,
but seems to show no particular sign of ageing in anything he writes.
I don't apologise for quoting him at some length,
speaking in a lecture on Scripture and Tradition,
which was delivered in Munich on 10th February 1963,
before the Council had made its decision about a document
on divine revelation, which I ask you to have a look at in advance.
Rahner is saying, what ultimately is Christianity?
Undoubtedly it is God's truth which is proclaimed to us.
Yet precisely this revelation of the divine saving truth
is not a proclamation which occurs primarily
in doctrinal propositions or catechetical texts.
It is a proclamation in events.
What is proclaimed in Christianity is not a general,
necessary, abstract truth, which could be attained equally well
from any point in history, because it shines forth
an internal sameness and clarity in the heaven of ideas.
No, Christianity is primarily the event in which God,
in his grace, acts on us.
It is a free event, an event of his powerful love,
an event which cannot be derived from anywhere else,
but must be experienced in its free historical reality,
and which therefore has also to begin with a perfectly determined
spatio-temporal situation in the history of man.
Revelation, in the proper, original sense,
is the revealing deed of God in historical concreteness,
in historical spatio-temporality.
This does not exclude, but in fact includes,
the fact that the word belongs to constitutive elements
of the act of revelation itself.
It follows, then, that if such a saving event takes place
at a perfectly determined point,
if the word becomes pledged precisely of the Virgin Mary
in Isis and Nazareth,
if we are redeemed into the glory of God
precisely by the fact that this particular man hung on the cross
at a particular point in time and in a particular place
under Pontius Pilate,
then this saving event must come towards us
from this particular point in time and place
if it is to reach us not only in the depths of our grace-filled being,
beyond all our own historical experience,
but also in the spatio-temporality
of the historical existence of humanity,
and in this way come towards us.
Hence the conception of paradosis,
of tradition, of handing down.
From a biblical point of view,
it has its ultimate and deepest meaning and reality
not so much in the handing down and transmission of propositions,
but in that paradosis,
handing over or transmission,
in which the Son of God became man,
the Divine Logos in the flesh,
always hands himself over
and delivers himself up anew
in the celebration of the sacred mysteries,
the Lord's Supper of the Church in the Eucharist,
proceeding from the event of the last summer
in union with his death.
This is the event
in which tradition primarily takes place,
in which the once-for-all salvation event
of the death and resurrection of Christ
delivers itself anew
to men in their humanity,
by always going on
and extending further.
Now I'm afraid that must sound like rather a mouthful.
But if you think it over with the help of the copy of it
I shall give you
I've finished for the moment
and we can take a pause
and later on today perhaps
or some other time when you can do it
I think you'll see that it does state
with very careful theological precision
why and how it is that the simplest peasant
who would never understand all these words
is brought into immediate contact
with that living mystery
which is the very subject matter of theology.
This is not of course a reason
for pretending to be peasants
if we don't happen to be them
and refusing to put our thoughts in order
as best we can.
And so the second reason
why I wish to bring this passage
to your attention here
is not only its value as a modern statement
addressed to a modern educated audience
of the kind of thing
which I hope I've shown
that the Fathers and the greatest theologians
habitually teach
but also as a way of suggesting
by implication
that the words of Scripture
are going to form part of our subject of study
in so far as words
certainly form part of that historical event
communicated to us
by the one who is the word
in the unique sense.
But the words of Scripture
are going to form part of our study
only as understood
by those
who handed over these words.
And thus our study will include
what accredited teachers have taught
where and in so far as we can know this.
Of course this is always
something of a problem
even here and now
there may be some of you
who are more puzzled than others
about what I'm saying
and this is true
very often of people in the past too
sometimes I think we find it
hard to get in touch with them
in other cases
they seem to come very near
and so we don't have such a problem.
But I think
the effort of making
that kind of personal contact
where we feel we can do it
is of extreme importance for us
and also to develop
our theological sense.
And when I'm saying this
I'm not of course
saying that everything
that could be said
and even correctly said
about this saving event
in the incarnation of the Son
has necessarily already been said
by someone in the past.
This would in its own way
seem to me to be as ridiculous
as the view that some people
including some biblical scholars
appear to hold
that Christianity has never been
properly understood by anyone
in the past and it is only now
we can really begin to understand it
and we must have read that kind of thing
in some scriptural books nowadays
people do tend to talk as though
we are for the first time
discovering what the apostles
ought to have understood it.
It seems to me clearly
that if the apostles
didn't know what Christianity was about
we would never know what it was.
That's simply not possible.
So always there is this problem
of communication
and the feeling that it's worthwhile
making the effort to get across
to feel the other one speaking to you
until you understand them
and of course for most of us
this means going through the scriptures
again and again
so they keep on rising to the surface
and you hear them talking to you
and some of us, I hope many of you here
at least who have done this
with some of your earlier
satirical writers who do this
I think in a way which for many of us
today does come across
very very alive indeed
and so they too will be rising
to the surface in this way
and of course often saying
as I'm giving one example
of from St. Bernard today
something which comes very very near
the sort of thing we might want to say
ourselves if we were preaching
I think we must remember
that what theologians in the past have said
just like theologians at any time
was and is to a very large extent
determined by the kind of questions
they have asked
and we must once for all
become aware
that the norm of the soundness
of what we teach and understand
is the same for us
as it was for those who taught
and believed in the past
namely Jesus Christ himself
as Father Rahman in fact
later goes on to say
in the same talk
Jesus Christ is the absolute norm
for every future tradition
since he is the absolute reality
you can see how much again
this goes back to the thing
the sensuous thing
like a glass of wine
it's getting the feeling
does this man know
is he really in touch
usually one can't put this to the test
but on the whole
I think we can say
the church as a community
always makes up its mind
and develops a very sure sense of this
I hope you will now see
a little better what I meant by saying
earlier on
that an essential purpose
in a course like this
is the development
of theological sense
and what is the context
in which we are developing
this sense
part of it is of course
our personal prayer
our direct contact
with Christ our Lord
however dark
that may often seem to be
because of course
I suppose we ought to remember
when prayer is going rather hard
that the lives of the apostles
and our Lord
and he was often very parsley
in things that he both said and did
and we shouldn't really expect
life with our Lord
in the life of prayer
to be very different from us
the sort of thing it was for the apostles
in fact I suppose
we have to be converted every day
and decide to become monks every day
as long as we live
this is a very real thing
this personal dimension
is very clearly present
but it is also that prayer
whether we are explicitly
thinking of this or not
as made in the context
of and as members
of the living church
this is why the scriptures
and our prayer
are important
but not enough
for us to be able
for the handing over
of the Christ event to us
necessarily passes through
an oral tradition
we meet it in the words
of other people
all of us have
Father Ron puts it rather beautifully
in two concentrated little sentences
later in the same talk
which would be convenient
if we come on the same piece of paper
I had to copy
he says
the church we may say
quite correctly
in so far as it has Jesus Christ
in her midst
let us say the church of the apostles
is what is handed on
she is handed on of course
not only in her teaching
but in what the church is herself
what she believes
and celebrates
the church in her sacraments
in her concrete life
in her experience
her Lord's supper
and of course also
in the reflex expression
of what she has heard
and what she lives herself
in the word of the apostles
I suppose
especially in monastic life
we ought to develop
this very strong sense
of the liturgy
many of you
as for me this morning
standing in the new sanctuary
but having the same experience
of the church alive
in the same place
a specific group of people
all quite different from other people
but somehow
something can actually see
a kind of physical being
and yet what is it?
this is another dimension
of this mystery
we are talking about
now the talk from which
I have been quoting
was given before the proclamation
of the dogmatic constitution
on divine revelation
I must ask you to believe
though it hardly matters if you don't
that this lecture was already
written up to this point
before I returned to the text
of this document
which must of course
be for us a primary statement
a principle about our work together
I confess that
I was delighted to find
that it opens with a quotation
from the first letter of John
perhaps you noticed that
I am using
this one big copy
it was put together
by a contemporary of mine
at Oxford
called Austin Flannery
an Irish Dominican
he and I started together
in Oxford
and it is a very useful
edition of the documents
of the council in English
because in fact
it contains some
subsidiary documents
which sometimes
are relevant
to the major documents
of the council
not a very long document
but it is extremely
dense and very important
for our deficits
document undervaluation
anyway, it is not my intention
at this stage
to give you an analysis
of this document as a whole
relatively short though it is
I should like simply
to underline some of the things
it says which I believe
apply very much to us
as guidelines for our work
giving us both courage
and a sense of direction
I should like in the first place
to draw your attention
to the opening sentence
of the first chapter
of this constitution
called from its opening words
Dei Verbum
Word of God
this chapter begins
with the words
It pleased God
I have got it here
in the Latin document
It pleased God
in his goodness
and wisdom
to reveal himself
and make known the mystery
of his will
remember that is the
first chapter of the Ephesians
Sacrament and Voluntatis
his will
that human beings
should have access to the father
through Christ
the word made flesh
in the Holy Spirit
and thus become sharers
in the divine nature
it seems to me
that here we have
the central sense
of the place of the church's
liturgy in our lives
which is in the Son
through the Holy Spirit
and also the very
personal and mystical purpose
of all that is publicly
done by the church
namely that we should be
sharers in the divine nature
comes of course
from the second letter of Peter
a phrase which is
very, very
loved by
all the fathers of the church
we find it constantly
quoted by them
thus our theology
requires to have a picture
of what it is to be human
which is not merely
philosophically satisfactory
insofar as we can make it so
but also determined by
perspectives for human
development which could not
be certainly known
save by revelation
because to say that we
are called to be sharers
in the divine nature
is something the meaning
of which we cannot know
except in a very mysterious
way by faith
so this adds, if you like
a dimension to something
we're going to have to say
about ourselves
in the latter part of these
twelve days I think we're
going to have to talk about
ourselves quite a bit
especially in the light
of what the Son of Man
has to say about
human introspection
we're going to have to
take that into account too
but it is going to be
very important to see
that conception that
we are called to be
sharers in the divine
nature as it were
deepening, enlarging,
widening the perspective
next I'd ask you to
bear in mind paragraph
five of this same
this says
quoting the letter
to the Romans
the obedience of faith
must be given to God
as he reveals himself
by faith a human being
commits the entire self
to God
making a full submission
of their intellect and will
to God who reveals
and willingly assenting
to the revelation
given by him
before this faith
can be exercised
a human being must have
the grace of God
to move and assist them
that's going to raise
all kinds of fascinating
questions isn't it
I think it's perhaps wise
not to try to ask them
in too concrete a form
because God can be
doing this in very many
mysterious ways
but the document is
that our thinking
our intellect
and our will
our desiring
and this is going to happen
under the influence of grace
I suppose none of us know
I often thought it was
a strange thing
when one finds
that one believes
sometimes one only knows
this when we meet
somebody who doesn't believe
and then one is puzzled
and one experiences
the immediacy of faith
which affects the way
we think and the way
we feel
and it's fairly large
these phases suggest
I think we shall quite
properly need to look
at a fairly early point
at the theology of the
virtue of faith
sometime next week
I'm hoping but not
just for a day or two
and also of course
inevitably because this
is going to involve
the minds and the wills
of all of us
and each generation
we are no longer the
early Cistercians
we are the contemporary
we soon will be the
early Cistercians
if the world goes on
if it goes on for
another thousand years
I would not tell the
Apostle Theos to this
particular one so we
might be quite early
but whatever it is
we're going to be in
on this process
and so it isn't going
to be something static
it's going to be something
going on in the church
which is as you all
have seen explicitly
referred to in the
saying that faith
is in fact something
which is being
continuously penetrated
and in this way
is developing
it's something which
Carl Newman was rather
especially distinguished
for thinking about
in the 19th century
which has now I suppose
become common to
everybody's way of thinking
and it's there
and very definitely
is confirmed by
the council's document
in saying that this is
normal for the life of the
church as indeed we can
see we wouldn't be
sitting here this
afternoon in 1984
if there hadn't been
people sitting in other
places thinking about
this and finding it
a matter of concern
conclusion of chapter 2
paragraph 8
which says
the tradition that comes
from the apostles makes
progress in the church
with the help of the
Holy Spirit
there is a growth in
insight into the realities
and words that are being
passed on
this comes about in
various ways
it comes through the
contemplation and study
of believers who ponder
these things in their
hearts it comes from
the intimate sense of
spiritual realities which
they experience
intima spiritual
and it comes from the
preaching of those who
have received along
with them truth
there is not
any doubt it is
I may just say by
way of a footnote
it always seems to me
extremely important that
anybody who preaches
in the church should
remember that they
always are preaching
as a delegate of
the episcopate
that the bishops
may not necessarily
be able to analyse it
very thoroughly and we
shall not be able to
do that either
but somehow if we
develop the theological
sense we will be able
to guess when it is
not being passed on
thus as the centuries
go by the church is
always advancing
towards the plenitude
of divine truth
I suppose here one has
got the conception of
this thinking and this
willing, this desiring
when it is fulfilled
when we see, which
we thus see, that is
what it is
these phases will I
hope help us to realise
without being self
conscious about this
as to what our role is
that we nevertheless
have a role to play
in the growth and
life of the church
even by our careful
study of divine truth
however humble our
efforts may be
a few men and women
who are really
letting these words
come to life for them
and developing also
with this a very
strong sense of
what it is saying
it's prayer
really praying
and this is of course
where our fidelity to
the spirit in which
theology has been
pursued by the men
of prayer in the past
comes in
for as this same
paragraph continues
the saints of the
holy fathers are
a witness to the
finally I would draw
attention to paragraph
10 of this same
chapter 2
which was I believe
a little advanced
on what had been
said at Vatican 1
while still leaving
a certain openness
on the question of
the exact identification
of what is meant
by tradition
of the word of God
which is entrusted
to the church
and adhering to it
by adhering to it
the entire holy people
united to its pastors
remains faithful to
teaching the apostles
to the fellowship
to the breaking of bread
and the prayers
the act of the apostles
chapter 4 of course
those of you who know
the text which
later got written
into the monastic tradition
will I hope slowly
and ever more fruitfully
be able to place
themselves in that
life giving context
this gives us I think
our sense of direction
I hope with the help
of St Augustine chiefly
tomorrow at any rate
I'm not going to use him
all the time
that's what I'm hoping
to do tomorrow
but we're now going
to take a pause
and you can come back
and tell me what you
find difficult
perhaps I shall find
it difficult too
well let me first say
is there anyone with something
that is burning to say
because that would be
an excuse for me to go
I'm not sure I'm burning
but in your presuppositions
you have something really
in your mind about
in my innocence I don't
know exactly except that
we're going to be doing
something about theology
so I wondered if you
could somehow or other
fill us in on your vision
or how it's come across to you
well I suppose I tried
to do it really in a way
which I can very simply
recapitulate which is
that I think of it
as I try to think of it
as I think the fathers
and monastic teachers
have always thought of this
let's say in other words
that they think that
theology is about
confrontation with Christ
because inevitably it is
the mystery of faith
into which we are being
drawn by our calling
as Christians
this is something which
begins with our baptism
it doesn't have to be
the theology of monastic
life has tended to develop
a theory of monastic
profession as being a kind
of second baptism
it is partly because
it is both a recall
of the baptismal call
an explicit choice
to live this out
in a special sort of way
and I suppose also to take
the consequences of it
because conformity to Christ
is not only going to be
sometimes difficulty
because it may mean cross
but I think it is well worth
while because it doesn't seem
to be sufficiently pointed out
in most books that I know
that there is a continuous
tradition of thinking
that if you like
the way I mentioned
the cardinal of Beryl
the way Beryl does it
in his meditations
is to say well
the power of the
incarnation of our Lord
is something which is still
available to us now
we can be at Bethlehem
because what happened at Bethlehem
is there for us always
because it lives on in Christ
and this is true
of all the other mysteries
does that seem very
it ought to in a certain way
seem implausible
it does for the reason
you can't
unless you really have
any kind of faith
it doesn't seem to be
meaningful to see this
in other words
I think the difference
between what we should be
doing here
what people who were
is that we are not
just studying some piece
of past history
whereas in fact
let's say what we did
at the Eucharist this morning
would be meaningless
if it were only history
it's important to remember
the background of the word
do this in memory of me
where you've got the whole
Jewish sense of what
memory means
when I think it's in
the story of Elijah
where a widow says
have you come to bring back
all the past to me
this is what memory is
in the Hebrew sense of the word
memory makes a thing there
of course in many many ways
as we were talking about
the stage
or talking about the sun
just a moment ago
one of the things I suppose
what the stage also tries to do
is at any rate
they so identify
with what they're actually doing
that they relive it
in a certain way
because you can't act very well
and you can't teach very well
unless you really feel
what you're saying
you can't learn it out of you
because there's no way
of learning it out of book
it either goes through you
or it doesn't
but this is a much deeper
it's a long time ago
but who's here now
and this is what
the decree on revelation
is obviously about
it's not in other words
it's not saying to us
it really is reminding us
in a certain way
of something which
I pointed out at the beginning
of this talk
it's very existent
in the New Testament itself
this can be made into a polemical point
which I didn't want to do at all
and I don't think we should ever do this
when talking to Protestants
but it's very important to remember
if the Church hadn't existed
the Bible wouldn't exist either
the Bible is essentially
the Church's product
and the entire New Testament
is written by
members of the Church
and the decision as to which
were the books that belong to the Bible
is very important too
in fact the Council of Trent
drew up a list
which as I shall point out
tomorrow when we're talking about Augustine
appears in one of the earliest forms
which is exactly identical
to what Trent said
or was said by Augustine
in the 5th century
and on the whole
we can say there was
fairly general agreement
in both the East and West
as to which the canonical books were
in fact they are products
of a given society
which has a faith
before it has the books
whereas the typical
I suppose the typical
Reformation attitude towards it
at least that's the way it looks now
I don't think it was only that
but the typical Reformation
way of looking at it
was to be very much concerned
for instance to learn
whether the Old Testament books
were all written in Hebrew
or whether certain generations
of Jews had spoken Greek
and in fact sometimes
we would find it quite difficult
to know what certain bits of
things like the Prophets Isaiah
actually meant
if we hadn't got
at least a Greek version of them
because this does give us
at least what Jews themselves
who had no special axe to grind
in the matter
thought these texts meant
does anybody read in Hebrew at all
do you?
you read a little tiny bit Mark
well do you all know then Mark
I can illustrate this
for everybody else
in a rather silly way
I won't give you a general key
let's suppose
that we want to say
a word which begins with W
we can't decide
whether the next letter
is going to be A
or E or I
it could be way
or it could be
now one of the reasons why
many of our earliest manuscripts
in Hebrew are difficult
is because Hebrew
was written normally
simply in consonants
and so
until you had a system
of marking little points
here or here or here
or some other way
you couldn't possibly know
what sort of vowel sound
it would make in a certain field
usually because it occurs
in things which perhaps
don't matter very much
like the names of animals
and trees and plants and so on
sometimes that's why we don't
even know to this day
sometimes what plant or tree
it is that's being referred to
because sometimes
we just have got to make
what seems to be a reasonable guess
but as I say
when you're dealing with
things which were done
by the Masolites
in other words there was a tradition
this is something
I don't know whether any of you
would have met this in America
but it must have existed at one time
and it certainly does exist
in the Philippines I would think
rather do you know doesn't it
still there are many people
who probably can learn things
by heart
I certainly when I was doing
my theological studies
it was a very extraordinary thing
but you see this
we've lost the function of memory
because we all think we're going
to be able to look it up in a book
so the idea of tradition
I had the last I think
one of the most moving experiences
I had during the last war
I was in fact engaged in agriculture
most of the time
which is a very important thing
and I was reserved for this work
even after the end of the war
and at one point
I often wonder how many of them
are still alive
because they may easily have been killed
in various wars in Israel
they were going out to Palestine
to form the new Jewish community there
and these young men
during the sort of break
we've just had between our meals
between our lecture
also between meals
they would recite passages
either psalms or passages
in the Old Testament
and there of course
you get actual verbal tradition
so there is
this sense of tradition
this way of passing on
which is there is some words
in your head
it's for me
one of the slight problems
I don't know
I suppose most of you here
probably have been almost
the younger of you certainly
who had Latin at one time
and sometimes
I find it very difficult
to prepare a homily
if I haven't got Latin in concordance
because I hear the phrases of Scripture
coming to me in Latin
rather than in English
or out of liturgy
and this is
one of the problems
I suppose
about having a vernacular liturgy
in every different country
is that
the literal memory
of passages of Scripture
will tend to be different
especially sometimes I think
rather worryingly
in certain modern translations
even the Scriptures
which are really rather paraphrases
than translations
because it means certain things
that people could recite
I remember for instance
one of my old priors
many years ago
saying his father
was required with crowns
and that's what we had to be able to say
the epistle by heart
I'm not saying
that we can attempt
to do those sort of things nowadays
obviously it would be rather silly
but I think we shouldn't forget
that older types of societies
and Valadino probably has
met this kind of thing
the Philippine type thing
isn't this true?
from my recollection
there are some
old people
especially religious
they are lay people
but they are
very devout Catholics
and during the Passion
they could recite
the whole scenery
of the Passion
but then always
in a musical
yes, exactly
and also I recall
an old Chinese
with whom I was
associated with
for some time
he could recite
by heart a whole lot
really, yes
that's quite a considerable work
do you all know the Tao?
it's quite a considerable work
it's a very remarkable thing
everybody ought to know
that document anyway
it's not such a very big work
but it's still quite enough
there's no doubt
there is a certain kind of loss
of that, I think
that somehow or other
we have to find
some way of compensating
for this
I think as a kind of
monastic problem
I expect all of you
have to face this
in some way or another
if you are to do
very profitable
lexio divinia
especially if as an American
you've been taught to read fast
you have to learn how to read slow
isn't that true?
have you had that problem
brother Mark?
I haven't experienced that
I know that when I was
maybe others here
Father Paul was a novice
minister here
one of the first things
he gave us
when he was a postulant
that was published
in Reader's Digest
but it got the point across
and it was about a man
who was a prisoner of war
and he had one book
and he had so many years
so he just trained himself
to study each
first he would start with a cover
he would spend days
just looking at the cover
memorizing the design
on the cover
and then he would go
and I'm sure
there's no doubt about it
even the dullest book
becomes much more interesting
when it's the only one you've got
when you've got to make something of it
and that certainly is one of the ways
isn't it?
one of the ways to keep it sane
is to turn the senses
inside out and upside down
until you really have
got everything you can out of them
does that really answer
your question?
I could have said that
in one sentence
I wouldn't need to take an hour
to say that
I seem to have taken
the right number of minutes
to say that
but I think that's why
it is complex
and it does seem to me
that I'm not just inventing this
it does seem to me
really in the document
don't you think this
by the labyrinth
do you feel convinced
of the truth of this
and that is what the document
is saying, what the council
is saying
it really is saying
that it is a confrontation
with the person of our Lord
first and foremost
that it's mediated through
words but it's not
there is this double sense
of word and word
there's the word
which is the word
and of course in one way
I suppose
I imagine that you
I've certainly for so many
many years I've read all four
Gospels in sequence
each year
and I'm always astonished
how very new they do seem
if you just read them
without a commentary
I don't mean to say
that I don't go to commentaries
when I feel very very puzzled
especially when I like
what somebody else thinks about it
but at the same time
if you just let them speak
of themselves
if you meet them like people
then they do become
very vivid and very individual
and so you do get
very special
mediation of
our Lord
at any rate
in this way
you can see that
one of the practical problems
we are going to be confronted
with all the way through
however long we work together
at the moment we've only got
12 days
is that of course none of us
can possibly know
even one of the Fathers
very well
my friend
he read the whole of it
he read 20 times
in the course of his monastic life
he died two years ago
but that must be fairly rare
I would think
I've never met anybody
who claimed to have read
the whole of Augustine
Augustine found it quite difficult
to do himself actually
he did as you know
he was in his 70s
when he wrote a book
which is usually called
The Confessions
he says about the Confessions
when I read them now
I feel just exactly as I felt
when I wrote them
he was 40 about at the time
and sometimes he is saying
I would rather have said so and so
I don't think this was the best way
to say it
sometimes he is in fact
retracting what he is saying
but it is a vast volume of work
and he found of course
he has a sort of large chest
as far as I can tell
which he kept his things in
like the Pope's did originally
they had what was called a screen
in the last room
which was the old papal palace
where they put documents and so on
I suppose nobody ever knew
quite what was in them
one of the reasons why
I was talking to the fathers
of the church congress
in Oxford this summer
about a piece of Greek
and it was very suspicious
whether he really got
something that was written
entirely by Gregory himself
because we do happen to know
that he did write a letter
which we have the text on
late in his life
asking for the notes
of this particular work
to be returned to him
because he wasn't satisfied
he had been correctly reported
and the letter was written so late
he can never receive the text
he was suspicious
about whether Gregory
wrote them or not
and a number of other scholars
were present
who were interested in this too
and we had quite interesting
discussions about which
were the possible passages
which may have been interpolated
a little bit later
because there was this box
left behind where Gregory died
and anybody could get in the box
there were at least 50 years
they died
and do remember the people
in the early centuries
didn't worry so much
wouldn't have bothered
to give the references
I gave by the poor
they wouldn't have said
where they took something from
if they thought it was good
they would just put it in
you would never know
what was there
or somebody else's
and sometimes they even
of course if they wanted
to defend the antiquity
of the monastery
they knew it was only
500 years old
and wanted to make it 700
that is I think
not wholly unconscious
but again I suppose
that's the feeling
that ought to be accepted
I myself lived in religious life
with men who would talk
about tradition
and by that they meant
the ancient past
You've talked about this a little
I wonder if you could talk
about it a little more
it seems like you want us
to acquire some
you've spoken of the sense
of theology
a taste as it were
for what is genuine
and what is counterfeit
it seems like
you want to teach something
that is in a way unteachable
and I wonder if you could
talk about both that difficulty
and the problem of doing it
in 12 days
Yes, well of course
I already said something
just a moment ago
about this
and let's say we can't
any of us hope to read
Father Moon Lifetime
but what we can hope to do
even if we have to use
let me just say a general word
on the whole
the ancient Christian writers series
although sometimes
it's giving you a deliberately
archaic translation
in other words for some reason
some translators feel
they have to make the fathers
sound very old fashioned
which of course they didn't
when Augustine was talking
he didn't sound old fashioned
he sounded just like
any of us talking to each other now
and so he shouldn't be
particularly inaccessible
but what's much more worrying
is that for instance
since I've mentioned Augustine
in this connection
there is a translation
of rather important
Let on Prayer
in the Fathers of the Church
series written by Augustine
where it's quite clear to me
that the translator very frequently
didn't understand the grammar
of Augustine's sentences
so it's not just
the original text
and so I think
on the whole
when somebody's around
who can read the original text
or has an idea what the translation is like
it's good to consult them about this
if you've got to depend on translation
there's more and more people who have to
I'm afraid we just have to accept
the fact that there are fewer
and fewer people who read
many many languages
other than their own
so we're now trying to be
able to get things done
my publisher has just asked me to do
he's just been commissioned
an Anaconda publisher
who's just been commissioned
to do something more
a new set of translations
for colleagues
which is very badly needed of course
he's very interested to know
that I'm sometimes doing this
which I do unofficially
from time to time
because in fact
sometimes the translations
don't get into the collect
and so on
so I suppose really
in terms of your question
what I am saying
is that I think
we can only
it's rather like
there's the old saying
one knows people by the company they keep
I'm not saying we should
exclusively keep the company
of the great people of the past
but I think
we ought at least
to keep it some of the time
where we can
I think it's a question of personal taste
to some extent
I don't see why we should always
necessarily go for one particular writer
because we think it's famous
I think perhaps Augustine
must have been rather trying
to get on with sometimes
I can think of several people
I would rather have met
though I think Augustine was also
a very fascinating meet
he was possibly a Berber
one doesn't quite know for certain
he was a North African anyway
so he certainly wasn't dull all the time
but I think
it seems to me
we can only do our best
because that's what anybody
ever can do in a lifetime
but it seems to me that
at least
it's a good habit
to form the habit
of reading books
which are
original books
whether they're contemporaries
or the people from the past
rather than don't read a book
about St. Bernard
and this perhaps is one of the very earliest
but it still remains the very best
I think Jesus Christ
the Mystical Theology of St. Bernard
it's still one of the very best things
after St. Bernard
it's a very original introduction
if you need to have one
and sometimes you do
you know
why on earth read a book about
what St. Bernard said
when you can actually read what he did say
even in a bad translation
it seems to me this is one of the ways
one has to develop the
sense of what people have been saying
in the past
and the letters of Ignatius
for instance you've got a very good translation
really in the ancient Christian writers
so you can get
a very important
don't take more than you would
you can take one of them a day
you can read them several times a year
until you really have Ignatius of Antioch
really inside you
that's a very important kind of thing to do
is that a sort of answer?
I think this is
I say it seems to be infinitely better
to read those letters
because they are accessible
and reasonable in length
even for a modern reader
there you get
the conception of the church
both as acting
as teacher
and performing the liturgy
these two images
are continuously brought before you
the letters are not really intelligible
except they recall
the kind of vivid picture one has
as we were all standing together
in the sanctuary this morning
and that's the way
I think this sense comes
in those places
which are consciously trying
to be loyal
to the church's
liturgical sense
and tradition
I think that some young people
of course it's very very interesting
I would have thought
I don't want to go too far
saying this is
the danger of talking extemporaries
one hasn't had the time
to think of things one reserved about
but I've not forgotten for instance
one very charming French dramatist
his wife talking to me
one evening after
an evening mass
which I'd celebrated in Norway
which I often did for visitors
saying to me
what were they to do about
the young people in their family
who were saying
because the clergy
want us to do this
we can just sort of
play them at home
and I know at the same time
that several young people
often stopped by a church
and asked if they could
make a retreat there
so that there were
right across the generations
there are some people
who are aware that sometimes
things are going on in church
which are really
I mean rather
strange people
the church is so big a thing
nobody can keep it all under control
I suppose
on the whole
we can say that it's not too difficult
to get a working sense
of what most people thought
about certain things
when they're given a bit of time
I'm sure
that it would be wrong
not to think one should read
some contemporary writers
I'm quite sure
that although
a writer like Carl Rahner
or actually even more
someone like Werner Donegan
is not really accessible
for every modern reader
they are
in the passages
which are not too difficult to read
talking about things
which are extremely important
trying to for instance
make people face the fact
one of the things
which I've taken responsibility for
without saying so
a name that you can't have
if you like one standard theology
the attempt to do so
of course was a very brief lived one
I think we've got to remember
that it was very well trained
I suppose for a very short period
partly on the inspiration
of Pope Leo XIII
who was responsible
for the promotion
of the study of St. Thomas
some people taught
what they called Thomism
which wasn't always the same thing
as the teaching of St. Thomas
I think one ought to say
as though it were
the only theology in the church
whereas of course
it never had been
they often failed to mention
that at one point
St. Thomas had been condemned
and buried
and never had I think
very many very faithful disciples
at any period in time
including the period
in which I myself
was being trained
you've only got to be
conscious of Cardinal Cajetan
which are printed
in the Leonine edition
to see what a very extraordinary
thing you can make
out of what St. Thomas
actually said
by a man who thought
he was really
trying to penetrate it
indeed he was making
something very ingenious
out of it
but certainly
it was very dubiously
anything St. Thomas
an interpreter
should be recognised
as such
even if he's a very distinguished man
that includes me of course
I'm not distinguished
but I am inevitably
all teaching involves
some element of interpretation
it's absolutely impossible
that it shouldn't
and so really I suppose
this is why
I bother to give out
some documents
if somebody hasn't clicked
there may be a spare number
perhaps it is
a spare copy
but make sure
that you've got
what I can give you
the very few things I can
because those I attach
much more value to
than anything I say
and I would always like
you to come and say to me
but it says so and so
and how this can be
designed to this moment
in protest
no, I'm not going to say
I'm just
I guess I'm just kind of
agreeing with what you say
it sounds like
what I was thinking
originally was that
we get this sense
this theological sense
most immediately
from reading the scripture
to reading the fathers
yes, I think so
and then I was just
when you caught me
I was just reviewing
what you passed out here
and well
scripture is implied
and we have the fathers
and we also have
a modern theologian
who also is
imbued with the scriptures
and with the fathers
and so
I was correcting my original thought
by stating that we get this sense too
yes, I think
a good interpreter
is usually making the effort
I suppose this is what one can say
the best interpreters
try to do
this is really why I think
myself as a young student
got into trouble
with some of my teachers
is that it seemed to me
to be clear
and widely accepted
it was not very wise
to read St Thomas
in the light of people
who were writing
sometime after him
but it was much more important
to know what people
had said before him
because after all
this was the world
in which he was himself writing
this is partly why
I began to read
these assertions among other things
one of the reasons
was I wanted to know
what had come before St Thomas
and I think you can see
that historically
he came just at a point
the last possible moment
when something like this
could have come really
because you can see behind it
the Gloss Bible
I am going to mention this
some other day
as we've got time
I'd perhaps like to give you
a visual impression
of what a Gloss Bible is like
I've seen in Cambridge
at least in
one of the colleges in Cambridge
when I was studying manuscripts
they did have a wonderful
printed edition of
the most famous of the Gloss
when St Thomas
is referring to the Gloss
as he sometimes is
a thing done by
Manuel Nicolas of Marra
and this is really
you've got
a text of scripture
down the page
you might perhaps have
let's have a
look out like that
then you've got
in the margin
against each single line
almost anybody you see
little sentences
taken from
now all great writers
including St Thomas himself
often took their comments
on a scriptural text
from one of these Glosses
so the Gloss was a very important
kind of source book
but do remember again
that's a second hand book
so in fact
as you probably know
one of St Thomas' own problems
which he was very acutely aware
was that he couldn't read any Greek
and in fact he had to find
somebody who could translate for him
a man called William of Merwick
who did a lot of translation for him
and I've always thought
that if you want to see
how very brilliant a man
St Thomas was
simply as a thinker
as a man
he had a terrible
translation of
Aristotle's De Anima
which is a very difficult book
in Greek indeed
extremely difficult
because it's a kind of notebook
some of the sentences are hardly complete
and so on
and yet somehow or other
through this terrible translation
St Thomas I think often arrived
at the conclusions
what Aristotle probably meant
and that's been a remarkable feat
of being able to do that
in a very big way
and he did a great deal of it
so one hasn't always got to assume
that medieval writers
are going to have done
what I recommend you should do
read a chunk of Gregory when you can
though even that I think is better
I mean it's better to have read
perhaps one bit of Gregory
you know right through
than it is to just know a sentence or two
but still of course this is one
so in other words
that's really what we're talking about
Mark isn't it
we either get it fairly directly
through the scriptures
or through the fathers
if we happen to be able to read them
sometimes we're getting it second hand
sometimes of course
an interest may be awakened
I mean for instance
I'm quite sure that
Gerson's book which I've mentioned
on St Bernard
I think some of the things he said
in the course of it
if you're going to think like this
you'll probably never see one of these
there are very few of them
but with all their little notes
at the side
from different sources
you might suddenly come across
something you think
is an extraordinary thing
let's have a look and see
what this looks like in the original
and it makes you want to go back again
at any rate it seems to me
always somehow
whether you are doing it
or not
it's something that
makes you look at the thing again
and it makes you want to know
I suppose I ought to say
I'm sorry this is going down on tape
because I've always wondered
how they got
got away with the New Testament version
of the Jerusalem Bible
in English
which is very different from the French
of course it isn't really
the Jerusalem Bible at all
as far as the French is concerned
it sometimes seems to me
very dubious
that's going to be the end of it
we're not working
unless you're
are you all too tired?
are you too tired?
what I was going to say
there I think
there's such a high degree of interpretation
especially in the Bishops of St Paul
that it really is very very dangerous
to use their translation
as a basis for theological argument
do be careful of it
it really is very dangerous
in its way
I don't suppose it's directly heretical
but it's
you could easily become a heretic
with the help of the Jerusalem Bible
the English one anyway
not the French one
which translation would you say
would be safe to read
well it's very hard to know
what the answer is to this one
I really just don't know
it seems to me
that in view of what I've said
just to be quite fair
to the Jerusalem Bible as it stands
one surely ought to say
about any other translation
do have a look at another translation as well
especially when your nose
you know the sense thing
that I've been talking about
says to you I wonder
whether they really said that
so never neglect
the revised standard version
which is
sometimes dull
but generally
is quite nearly
the Greek
in the New Testament
so you would recommend
the RSVS
I think as a control
yes I would always use it
I think as a control
for something you felt
a bit doubtful about
anybody got any strong views
about this
John about it
even King James of course
about the justification
like one of the ones
I was looking at the other day
suddenly I thought
let's see what King James does
with this
and it was really rather good
I thought
I've been doing some
other kinds of work
not theology work particularly
but something that
I've had to go back and back to
is the diary readings
because you get a translation
and the thing is
you read that it's always wrong
that they've mistranslated it
it's not true
there's a special word
about the diary version
you know the one we're talking about
it was so called
because for a long period
there was a whole lot of
English Catholics
were living in a place called Douai
which is pronounced diary
I don't know how you do it in America
but that's the way we do it in England
so they produced a translation
Bishop Terena did the main thing
the main amount of work
it was strongly influenced
by the King James version
but where it's sometimes useful
is of course on the sapiential books
because one of the things
I always feel sad about
for those people who have to read
St Bernard and other secession writers
in English translation
is that St Bernard is of course
full of allusions to the sapiential books
and the Psalms
because he's got a different
Latin version
and occasionally the diary
will give you
a Vulgar version
which you want to know
if you can't read the Vulgar
for yourself
then you're going to get it from the diary
so for the sapiential books
I would have thought sometimes
look at the diary version
if you can
I'm sure that's right
I usually have about 4 or 5 in a row
I look it up as much as I can
unfortunately one has to keep on rethinking
one's language
all the time
something that maybe you could
elaborate on
you mentioned
the Ignatius of Antioch
and his view of the church
and how that was assimilated
or taken over by monasticism
I think you said something like that
yes I think
you see that
I think the
well I can't obviously give
a kind of positive history of this
in just a few minutes
but it seems to me
that if you read the letters
of the Ignatius of Antioch
you get a kind of physical picture
he sometimes consciously
calls this up
of, you'll remember of course
that all
St. Augustine was talking to his people
and all the other early bishops of the church
would be talking across the altar
as you are in your church here
at the moment
so you've got
the man who's leading
the ex cathedra from the seat
with benches along the wall
by the deacons
and the clergy
and so
Ignatius would sometimes say
it's rather like a harp
and so you've got
a picture of
the communicating
and then of course the altar
is not going to have an altar bell
but cancelli
it's going to be up to
the height of your breast
right to the time of Gregory the Great
even in St. Peter's
in the time of Gregory the Great
the altar was carried in
a portable altar
and the deacons collected
both the bread
and the wine
they had very big
you've probably seen pictures of them
vessels of that sort
being carried
for the Eucharist
at the cancelli
and there's a nice story
of Gregory the Great
refusing communion
to a noble lady
who laughed when she saw
that he was handing her
a piece of bread
that was obviously
her own nose
but I suppose
this idea of the
and of course
in Rome
at any rate
the deacons were going to take
both the Eucharist
for the sick
and also portions
to other churches
around the city
both the Eucharist