Monday, March 26, 2007

Luther & Esther: Response to a Defender of Rome

The following comments are in regard to an old version of my entry, Luther: "The book of Esther I toss into the Elbe...". From time to time, Rome's defenders offer rebuttals. The actual rebuttal directed towards me is no longer available on-line.



See my thorough refutation”- A Defender of Rome on my analysis of Luther and the Book of Esther
Refute what? To refute this would be to prove Luther meant Esther and not Esdras in an obscure Table Talk comment. I have waded through some of a defender of Rome's recent comments directed toward me (many of those comments, since deleted). 

He holds I do not succeed in proving Luther didn't denigrate and even deny the canonicity of the book of Esther. In my on-going evaluation of Luther’s sparse comments on Esther, I said at one point: “the apocryphal books (including Esther) are being compared to Proverbs and the Song of Solomon.” Obviously, such a comment infers a denigration toward the book of Esther by Luther, doesn't it? For a Biblical book to be considered an apocryphal book is a denigration.

Say what you will about Luther’s degrading comments toward Esther, there is one piece of evidence that I would ask Rome's defenders to interpret. Luther translated Esther with the canonical books. He did so in his second installment of Old Testament translations which appeared in 1524, under the title Das ander Teyl des Alten Testaments. The books included spanned from Joshua to Esther. During the years 1531 to 1534 apocryphal books were translated by Luther, including the apocryphal additions to Esther. In his completed Bible, Esther is found among the canonical books, not the apocryphal books.
The editors of Luther’s Works state:
“In keeping with early Christian tradition, Luther also included the Apocrypha of the Old Testament. Sorting them out of the canonical books, he appended them at the end of the Old Testament with the caption, ‘These books are not held equal to the Scriptures, but are useful and good to read.’”
I would simply ask Rome's defenders to consider this information as they seek to rid the world of my alleged poor research. It would be interesting to see how they factor this information in. Luther’s Bible and Prefaces tend to be his definitive statement as to how he felt about which books were canonical. Missing are comments about the non-canonicity of Esther. Found is Esther among the canonical books.

As to Luther making denigrating comments, one can find Luther making negative comments about canonical books. I have never denied it. For instance, of Leviticus he said, “A tiresome book that is read by very few.” That Luther makes a negative comment about a canonical book does not mean he didn’t think it was canonical.

This particular defender of Rome should make up his mind. He notes, “James "Dave got it wrong again" Swan would do better picking through exotic instruments rather than eccentric readings of Luther texts.” Yet, he then notes of my research into Luther Esther/Esdras quote:

I accept this as a legitimate gripe, and the "Esdras" version of this particular quote. Mea culpa on behalf of all those (including yours truly) who have wrongly used this false citation in the past or present, and kudos to James for correcting the error. Falsehood of any sort (whether inadvertant [sic] or not) does no one any good.”

This is not the first time this defender has been corrected by my Luther research. I realize it must be embarrassing for him, as he seeks to build his apologetic empire, and also craves to be seen as a legitimate quotable source on Luther. He is more of a shoot first, do the research on Luther later type of writer. He claims to have done in-depth Luther research when he was converting to the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps if he had really done in-depth research back then, he wouldn’t have to explain why he freely quoted Patrick O’Hare’s Facts About Luther, and why he has to apologize now for mis-quoting Luther.

I have said more than once my blog is my workshop- I work through material I read. I interact with texts, trying to determine truth and error. It’s not my intention to make Luther anything than what he was. Remember: I am not a Lutheran. This little exercise with Luther’s view of Esther was just that- trying to work with all the information available.

The evidence of Luther’s view on this book is not clear-cut. I could present evidence from Luther’s writings in which he favorably quotes it. In other words, it is treated as canonical Scripture. On the other hand, are the negative comments from Luther that have already been put forth on this blog.

12 comments:

Churchmouse said...

From your blog:

James "Dave got it wrong again" Swan meditating on what lame excuse he can use this time, to avoid the taxing burden of defending his argued positions yet again.

That's just cheesy Dave. That is unless Jim had a premonition that he would be "defending" his arguments from your sophistry 20 years ago.

From Scripture:

For if anyone thinks himself to be something, being nothing, he deceives himself(Galatians 6:3)

Meditate on that, Dave. Instead of hiding behind the WWW trying to find some Prot to debate, why not do what you've been avoiding...a LIVE debate with White. It's either that or you can continue to downplay and give Sippo-esque retorts like the one above.

L P Cruz said...

Scholars have viewed quotations from Table Talk as to what Luther said or did not say as inconclusive. I hope no one dwells on materials that come from such works which was not written by Luther but by his students.

On the way Luther used vulgarity or strong language, for example, was not unique to Luther, this was the way preachers talked in the 16th Century. Scholars tell us that.

At anyrate Luther is no Prot's Pope certainly he is not the Lutheran's pope and certainly not the Pope of the Calvinists either.

We are not concerned with what Luther entertained privately, Lutherans are bound by their confession which was not all entirely written by Luther. Some of them were written by Lutheran theologians.

We treat Luther the way we treat the church Fathers.

Gojira said...

"How noble. A rebuke on supposed lack of manliness from an anonymous coward."

The words of a man who says that he no longer debates "antiCatholics" and then changes his mind, and then changes his mind, and then changes his mind, and then changes his mind, and then changes his mind. I would be led to say that for those with a Texas sized ego, they have a lotta mind to change.

Churchmouse said...

How noble. A rebuke on supposed lack of manliness from an anonymous coward.

The name's Ray Aviles, but you knew that considering you posted it on one of your "antiCatholic" blog entries. But then again, little ol' me isn't worth the effort to remember, much less ever attempt to indulge your fancy. And, yet, the point remains, your sophistry isn't worth a plug nickel unless you can follow Latimer's advice and "play the man" before Dr. White lights you up.

Oh, gee...am I instigating??? I guess I am. Oh well...

RAY AVILES

Churchmouse said...

Live chat??? Omigosh!! {{{Jim, where are the incoherent, slap-knee, laughing emoticons when you need them}}} Give me a break.

Ray

Churchmouse said...

Oh, I couldn't agree more, if this is the way you "argue" and "reason."

Which is exactly why you don't seem to make much of a dent in my mind either.

Take that narcissist!

Churchmouse said...

Welcome to manhood. So you have a name you are willing to broadcast in public. Excellent. Progress. Now you are on the level of the cashier at the grocery store, whose name I can read on the little tag.

Cashier??? Classic! At least I don't look like one. :D :D

You want to keep trading barbs???

Ray

James Swan said...

Hi Ray-

Great to hear from you-

James "Dave got it wrong again" Swan meditating on what lame excuse he can use this time...

I wasn't meditating in that picture. I had been doing a lot of stretching and could actually sit that way.

I was a 34 waist in that picture. Now 21 years later, I am still a 34 waist. I keep myself in good shape- i feel just as good now as i did then. Well, my hair is a bit shorter-

Gojira said...

"Now you are on the level of the cashier at the grocery store, whose name I can read on the little tag."

Dave actually condescends to

1) Actually going to a grocery store

2) Reading the name tags of those who should be so fortunate that he chose their line.

Churchmouse said...

I'd much prefer substantive, intelligent conversation, but as we see, that is always an exceedingly rare commodity in anti-Catholic circles.

Translation: I prefer to gain the upper hand, the last word, and total submission to my sophistry and linguistic prowess by those I choose to label, due to their disagreements with me, my sophistry and linguistic prowess.

Ray

Churchmouse said...

Hey Jim,

I wish I can say the same for myself. I was 125 lbs., 5ft. 7in., for the major part of of my life. I was able to eat like a glutton and still remain slim, but then I got married. I think marriage has a way of messing with one's metabolism. Well, at least it did with mine because, a few years later, I was 200 lbs. and I could swear I shrunk an inch. Now I'm 50 years young and consider myself twice the man. If I say it enough, it makes me feel better :P

Peace,
Ray

Gojira said...

"Translation: I prefer to gain the upper hand, the last word, and total submission to my sophistry and linguistic prowess by those I choose to label, due to their disagreements with me, my sophistry and linguistic prowess."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!

That ws good word usage! You sounded just like him!

Hmmmmm....I think a good debate idea would be if Dave uses a Thesaurus or not.