Tuesday, May 06, 2008

A wish for good luck, and patience!


... to Turretinfan, who has taken up the dubious challenge to debate the Catholic Champion, Matthew Bellisario, (much like one of the world's foremost Bible scholars) on the topic of Sola Scriptura, on his debate blog.

Just to give you a taste of what he's facing, take a look at what passes for exegesis from the Champion. I have not looked up this quote; I will be answering the Champion on his own grounds. He is attempting to make a citation from Hippolytus regarding the BVMary being the Ark.

He begins:
Hippolytus, on his commentary on
Psalm 22 and 23...
"The Lord is my Shepherd."

And, moreover, the ark made of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself. For by this was signified the imperishable and incorruptible tabernacle of (the Lord) Himself, which gendered no corruption of sin. For the sinner, indeed, makes this confession: "My wounds stank, and were corrupt, because of my foolishness." But the Lord was without sin, made of imperishable wood, as regards His humanity; that is, of the virgin and the Holy Ghost inwardly, and outwardly of the word of God, like an ark overlaid with purest gold.
It was then pointed out here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here that the very first sentence of his own citation defeats his assertion, namely:

the ark made of imperishable wood was ***the Saviour Himself***
(Emphasis mine.) (Yes, really.)
Unbelievably, the Champion continues to contend that the citation stands.
Apparently in the Champion's world, these two statements are interchangeable, or perhaps the 1st one actually means the 2nd, if only my blasted private interpretation weren't getting in the way:
1) the ark made of imperishable wood was the Saviour Himself
2) the ark made of imperishable wood was Mary
If this is the level of discourse and "exegesis" we can expect from the Champion in his upcoming debate, I pity TurretinFan and will pray fervently that his sanity not flee screaming from him.


53 comments:

Matthew Bellisario said...

First of all, I never called myself the "Catholic Champion". I guess you can't tell the difference between the name of a website and a person's name. You just can't stand when someone proves you or one of your buddies wrong can you? What about the other quotes James?? What about the incorrect statement made by Svendsen? Keep dodging the question by trying to divert the argument. I assure you this won't work in the formal written debate.

Rhology said...

Incredibly, the more you say, the worse it gets. This is good stuff.

Matthew Bellisario said...

You love dodging the question don;t you??

Matthew Bellisario said...

So lets sum up the day shall we?? I made several quotes from the early church regarding Mary as being the Ark, refuting the statement Eric Svendsen made on his audio broadcast setting (Iron Sharpens Iron) that no one in the early church believed such a thing, and that is was a modern invention of the Catholic Church. One of the quotes I posted was in error and I was corrected, and I retained the other two I posted.

The other two were
Hesychius who said, "The Ark of thy sanctification, the Virgin Theotokos surely. If thou art the pearl then she must be the Ark." and Chrysippus who said, "The truly royal Ark, the most precious Ark, was the ever-Virgin Theotokos......"
(O,Carroll 1982 Theotokos)

I then asked if what Svendsen said was correct or not and got nothing but a dodging of the question. As we see from these other quotes, it is obvious that Svendsen was incorrect in his blanket statement. Even now after I have admitted my error, the attack is continued against my character, and the question I have brought forth is dismissed. And you call yourselves Christian?? I am very disappointed here.

Rhology said...

An attack on your character?
I missed that part.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Thats funny since you wrote it....this isn't an attack on the creditability of character?? This blog post mocking me and the upcoming debate isn't an attack on my character??? Wow..what you consider it to be? And you still haven't answered my question regarding Svendsen either.

Rhology said...

An attack on your character would be something like "Bellisario is an adulterer" or "... is a murderer" or something like that.

This is an attack on your credibility given the behavior and obstinacy you've displayed.

Matthew Bellisario said...

I think we can all see who the real obstinate one is here Rhology. One can admit when he makes a mistake and the other cannot. You still can't answer my question which proves you are not interested in the truth, only in making yourself look good.

Alberto said...

I can said:

No body in the early church said that Mary was the ark.

My phrase can be true or false, but this depends about the measure that you will use.
If I am saying that no one in the first two centuries said that, I am telling the truth.. Because the Church of the first two centuries is the early Church, maybe the problem of Svendsen was that he wasn´t clear with his argument.

David Waltz said...

Hmmmm…is it just me, or do others perceive a penchant, exercised by so many Reformed apologists/polemicists, of employing double-standards in their internet dialogue?

The Beachbum

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for the kind wishes!

Please pray that folks would be edified by the exchange.

-TurretinFan

Paul Hoffer said...

I thought I would comment on this thinly veiled attempt to "poison the well" concerning the upcoming debate between Mr. Bellisario and Turretinfan by casting doubt on Mr. Bellisario's capabilities. I am always looking for examples of fallacious reasoning and tactics to use for mock trial students.

First the emotional appeal~Now, Rhology, I ask you, how exactly did this particular work of writing advance your witness of Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, whom we both love and serve?

[BTW-Good luck to both Mr. Bellisario and TF! Gentlemen, I am sure that the work you both will do in the debate will be very edifying and educational! TF-I am still interesting in debating the Corban rule issue, but I got too busy with work. Sorry!]

Anyway, I read St. Hippolytus's words in context with the rest of the commentary. I happen to agree with Mr. Bellisario's analysis.

Now lest you think that I am merely sticking up for a fellow Catholic or that my analysis is similarly dubious and deserving of a similar article on this blog, let's look at what some other more well-known ECF's say. Here are two more ECF's who happen to concur with the use of "Ark of the Covenant" typology to describe the Blessed Virgin Mary:

St. Athanasius of Alexandria (c. 296-373): "O noble Virgin, truly you are greater than any other greatness. For who is your equal in greatness, O dwelling place of God the Word? To whom among all creatures shall I compare you, O Virgin? You are greater than them all O [Ark of the] Covenant, clothed with purity instead of gold! You are the ark in which is found the golden vessel containing the true manna, that is, the flesh in which divinity resides" (Homily of the Papyrus of Turin).

St Gregory Thamaturgus (c. 213-c. 270): "Let us chant the melody that has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, 'Arise, O Lord, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy sanctuary.' For the Holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary" (Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary).

Or if these guys do not qualify as early-enough Early Church Fathers in Mr. Svendsen's mind, is St. Luke early enough?

2 Sam 6:2: King David "arose and went" to fetch the ark

parallels

Lk 1:39: Mary "arose and went" to greet Elizabeth.

2 Sam 6:9: King David says "how can the ark of the Lord come to me?";

parallels

Lk 1:43: Elizabeth says "how can the mother of my Lord come to me?"

2 Sam 6:16: King David is seen leaping for joy before the ark of the Lord.

parallels

Luke 1:41: John the Baptist leaps for joy in Elizabeth's womb before Mary whose womb contained Our Lord, Jesus Christ.

2 Sam 6:11: the ark remains in the house of David for three months

parallels

Luke 1:43: Mary remains in the house of Elizabeth for three months.

(not an original idea-Thank you Mr. Salza!)

Also, please take a look at Lk 1:35

"And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."

Compare the overshadowing of Mary by the Holy Spirit here with the overshadowing of the Ark of the Covenant by the Holy Spirit (Glory of God) at Ex. 40:32-35:

"After all things were perfected, The cloud covered the tabernacle of the testimony, and the glory of the Lord filled it. Neither could Moses go into the tabernacle of the covenant, the cloud covering all things and the majesty of the Lord shining, for the cloud had covered all. If at any time the cloud removed from the tabernacle, the children of Israel went forward by their troops: If it hung over, they remained in the same place."

Is it only a coincidence that St. Luke's account of the conception of Our Lord and Mary's pregnancy just happens to mimic the Ark of the Covenant imagery in the OT? Or is it "God-breathed"?

I humbly submit that SS. Gregory Thamaturgus and Athanasius thought the latter. Further, with much temerity as a novice apologist, I contend that St. Luke did as well. Thus, it seems to me that Mr. Bellisario's criticism of Mr. Svendsen's statements is not merely his self-expression, but an argument supported by the weight of solid evidence even without resorting to St. Hippolytus' evidence since you find his writing on the subject to be questionable or ambiguous.

Additionally, it seems to me that if this typology is misapplied to Mary, you would be able to support the argument in a more affirmative manner than attacking the character and capabilities of a person who opposes your view, like quoting at least one ECF who specifically states that the use of "Ark of the Covenant" typology is not appropriate to use in describing Mary and their reasoning to demonstrate why we should be disabused us of this notion. That would seem to me a more fruitful way to support Mr. Svendsen's claim than immaturely using fallacious reasoning. Attack the argument, not the man!

Have a blessed day!

Paul Hoffer said...

I apologize for the typos-I w wrote this while I was editing a business plan for client.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer,

Thanks for your wishes, and for your continued interest in the Corban rule issue!

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Incidentally, I've provided a post questioning the authenticity of attribution of the "Homily of the Papyrus of Turin" to Athanasius, here.

As I mention there, I am simply questioning - not asserting that I have definitive proof of non-authenticity.

-Turretinfan

Alberto said...

I think that the quote of the "Homily of the papyrus of Turin" in which Athanasius said about Mary as the Ark is false.

It is completely unknown in the writings of Athanasius, accepted by everyone, this kind of tipology about Mary.

some of you knows where can I find the "Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary" because I did not find it in the catholic encyclopedia..

ree said...

TF,

I share your suspicions. I just don't see references to this work anywhere. The Roman Catholic New Advent website doesn't list it among Athanasius's writings, and doesn't even mention it anywhere on the whole site. In fact, all these writings that RCs are appealing to (except the Hippolytus one which they misread) are conspicuously absent from the usual compilations of early church writings. They're getting them from a secondary (at best) source document.

Paul Hoffer said...

Gentlemen, thank you for bringing that matter to my attention concerning the St. Athanasius quote. I collect quotes that I come across and place them in a database for later use. I forget that unlike legal sources which can be easily cross-checked,the same is not true in apologetics work. I will attempt to ascertain the quote's veracity and if the quote can not be substantiated, I will ask that portion of my remarks to be redacted or be allowed to repost it sans that portion.

I try not to necessarily rely on internet sources as they are woefully incomplete and it is more important to me that an argument is made on factual information than to make a point using spurious information. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of doing something else when I wrote the post and broke my own rule of checking sources. Mea Culpa!

Matthew Bellisario said...

So what is wrong with the rest of these quotes? Are they all frauds as well?

1.Hesychius (ca. 433) said, "The Ark of thy sanctification, the Virgin Theotokos surely. If thou art the pearl then she must be the Ark." De S. Maria Deip page 93 1464 homily on PS 131:8

2.Chrysippus (399-479)said, "The truly royal Ark, the most precious Ark, was the ever-Virgin Theotokos......" In S. Mariam Deip in PO 19,338

3. St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (Wonderworker) (+ c.270):

"Come, then, ye too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody which has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, Most of the holy fathers, and patriarchs, and prophets desired to see Him, and to be eye-witnesses of Him, but did not attaint hereto. And some of them by visions beheld Him in type, and darkly; others, again, were privileged to hear the divine voice through the medium of the cloud, and were favoured with sights of holy angels; but to Mary the pure virgin alone did the archangel Gabriel manifest himself luminously, bringing her the glad address, "Hail, thou that art highly favoured!" And thus she received the word, and in the due time of the fulfilment according to the body's course she brought forth the priceless pearl. Come, then, ye too, dearly beloved, and let us chant the melody which has been taught us by the inspired harp of David, and say, "Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest; Thou, and the ark of Thy sanctuary."29 For the holy Virgin is in truth an ark, wrought with gold both within and without, that has received the whole treasury of the sanctuary. "Arise, O Lord, into Thy rest."
(The First Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary)

ree said...

I don't know whether they're all spurious sources or not, and in regard to what they would prove if they're not, it doesn't much matter to me. Whether or not some people in the early church thought to make a connection between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant is of no significance whatsoever. The only issue I have is over the way RC apologists so habitually rely on untraceable or misrepresented quotes to make their points. I've been witnessing this since I first started interacting with defenders of Rome in 2000, and I find it irritating.

If the quotes turn out to be verifiable, then congratulations. You can pat yourselves on the back. But even so, they shouldn't be posted without qualifications until they are. The strongest claim you can make is that some prior defender of Rome has printed some unverified quotes in a book that, if correct, indicate that some people in the early church also thought of identifying Mary with the Ark of the Covenant. One thing that I'm pretty sure of is that whoever came up with these oft-cited allegedly slam-dunk parallels from Luke didn't rely on any previous church writings. These were the innovations of a modern apologist.

Matthew Bellisario said...

If thats the case, how do we know any of them are reliable? After all most of them are just copies of copies anyways. Many of them are not the originals, so maybe they are all forgeries. I don't know anyone in the apologetics world who can verify most of their quotes first hand. We are all relying on copies of copies put forth as being probable authentic pieces, many of them on the internet. I don't consider New Advent to be the clearing house for all things Catholic either. So just because its not on there doesn't mean a lot to me.

Ive noticed a few things about Reformed apologists. They will not address the arguments directly. Anytime a quote is used to show how the early church resembles the Catholic church, one in the same, they cry that we are misquoting them all just as J. R. did earlier on the posts above. But he gave no reason as to why. He did not claim they were not authentic, but said that they did not clarify what they meant. Then when I asked him what alternative there was to the claim he never answered and just left. The other easy escape method is to claim that they are spurious works that can't be proven to be authentic. Finally the most common retort I see with Reformed apologists is that they always attack the person and never address the argument. It seems that you have all of your angles covered.

Rhology said...

Matthew,

I addressed this question of yours a while back.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Your appeal to Scripture Alone is not a convincing one, as we will see when I post my opening statement when the debate begins.

Rhology said...

Was that comment directed at me?

ree said...

If you're equating the veracity of undisputed, easily accessible, commonly read and studied early church documents with obscure short quotes from unverifiable sources, this indicates that you're not qualified to defend your beliefs. You're not doing your church any favors.

Matthew Bellisario said...

They are easily accessible and are quotes by noted theologians, the 3 that I quoted. I don't know what you are talking about.

Tim Enloe said...

I'm curious to see how this turns out, because TurretinFan has already said on his "Debate Blog" that he's defending the idea that sola Scriptura is "derived from" Scripture itself. This seems like a silly thing to say. For one thing, just about everyone believes the formation of the canon of Scripture took place in history and by the secondary causality of the people of God, so the idea that all truth has to be "derived from" Scripture is inherently outside the actual facts of the historical moorings of the Christian religion. For another, the mere fact that Reformed divines thought it necessary to write subordinate rules of faith automatically eliminates the "Bible Only" view from the consideration of any real Protestant mind.

Real Protestantism isn't afraid of historical arguments, isn't afraid of mediated religion and mediated knowledge, doesn't collapse secondary causality into primary causality, doesn't abstract the solas from the communal, sacramental, and liturgical settings in which the Reformers themselves rooted them, and doesn't pretend that the Bible is the only really trustworthy rule of faith, such that even the confession that Scripture is the only infallible rule of faith has to be "derived from" Scripture.

Hopefully the whole debate won't be skewed by the Protestant advocating the self-contradictory and very much un-Reformational "Bible Only" view, followed by the Catholic deploying all the usual tired anti-Fundamentalist tactics, followed by the boorish crowds of onlookers on each side pelting each other with "Yah! Take that Romanist idolator!" and "Yah! Take that stupid Prot rebel!"

That kind of stuff is so boring, is such a waste of time and energy, and is so very much out of tune with the concerns of real Protestantism. I hope we see some real Protestantism out of an Internet Protestant apologist for once. It would be a nice change, and might actually be a lot more effective a witness than most of what you guys usually put forth.

ree said...

Accessible where? Where can translations of the original documents be accessed? Where can even a mention of the documents be accessed other than in these citations? I'm not saying that they can't be, I'm just wondering where.

What was the name, again, of the work from which you got them?

ree said...

Hi Tim,

I'm surprised at your curiosity. You already know that Turretin Fan is going to say a bunch of things that you consider highly disputable and ahistorical and then Matthew will counter with a bunch more things that you'll consider equally disputable and ahistorical and you'll conclude that you were right in the first place that the whole thing was a waste of time. Why does that arouse your curiosity?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Mr. Enloe:

I hope you'll enjoy the debate. I don't think that your definition of "Bible Only" would apply to the men of the Westminster Assembly, and I trust you'll find my presentation consistent with their presentation.

Dear Mr. Bellisario,

You asked: "So what is wrong with the rest of these quotes? Are they all frauds as well?"

Good question. Who knows? Only one of those is from before the 5th century.

That one also appears to be pseudographic (link)

Fraud is too strong a term, though - especially if you are suggesting that Mr. Hoffer knowingly posted false quotations. I have not suggested that, and would not suggest that.

-TurretinFan

Matthew Bellisario said...

Michael O'Carroll C.S.Sp is the theologian I used. His book titled Theotokos and he sites all of the sources in which he quotes from including the 3 I posted. If you search on the net you also find several Orthodox apologists using the sources as well.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Actually these 2 quotes are from him, not the third, as I noted earlier. Here is the post with the source I sited earlier.

Hesychius who said, "The Ark of thy sanctification, the Virgin Theotokos surely. If thou art the pearl then she must be the Ark."

and Chrysippus who said, "The truly royal Ark, the most precious Ark, was the ever-Virgin Theotokos......"
(O,Carroll 1982 Theotokos)

He seems to think they are genuine sources.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi TF, Looking at your reference to LeFort's work and doing some preliminary research thus far, I must ask, did you read LeFort or reference him based on what a secondary source understands his view? I am able to find the work in the catalogues of certain libraries that are within a couple hundred miles so I could possibly get my hands on the work to start my research as to why he believes that the Homily should be attributed to Pseudo-Athanasius as opposed to the venerable Doctor himself, but unfortunately it seems to be available only in Coptic with a French introduction. I can read French well enough, but Coptic is beyond my meager talents.

If you could point me in the direction of a purely English translation or even a French one, if that is what you accessed for your citation, it would be most appreciated. Otherwise, I will focus my efforts elsewhere to come up with an answer to this issue.

I ask this as it seems that despite your contention that LeFort rejects the historicity of the Homily, I have found several secondary sources citing to his work as documentation to support the contention that Athanasius did believe that Mary is the the new Ark of the Covenant. Without knowing his hermeneutical outlook and being able to read his Coptic derivation, it may be difficult to ascertain whether he is questioning Athanasian authorship due to a paucity of corroborative sources or if LeFort saw something in the writing itself that led him to question authorship.

BTW, thank you for honoring me by puting me in the same category as Mssrs. Akins, Armstrong and Ray as a Catholic apologists. I am much humbled. I do not deserve such a honor.

J.R. Polk said...

Matthew said:

"They are easily accessible and are quotes by noted theologians, the 3 that I quoted. I don't know what you are talking about."

If they are easily accessible, then it shouldn't be difficult for you to tell us where to find them. So far, you refuse to do so. Remember Matthew, we need "primary" sources, not the secondary(?) sources you've been using. A quote of a quote is not a primary source no matter how respected your "theologian" appears to be.

Matthew said:

"Ive noticed a few things about Reformed apologists. They will not address the arguments directly. Anytime a quote is used to show how the early church resembles the Catholic church, one in the same, they cry that we are misquoting them all just as J. R. did earlier on the posts above. But he gave no reason as to why."

I demonstrated very very clearly how quoting the Fathers by way of out-of-context fragments is disingenuous and misleading. Pay attention Matthew. Here it is again. Here is your fragment/quote of Chrysippus from the other thread:

3.Chrysippus said, "The truly royal Ark, the most precious Ark, was the ever-Virgin Theotokos......"

Now, here is more of the same quote in context. Pay close attention to the words I capitalized. Notice that it completely contradicts your purpose for quoting it.

Chrysippus

“An ark truly royal, an ark most precious is the ever-Virgin Mother of God, an ark which received the treasure of entire sanctification. NOT THAT ARK wherein were all kinds of animals, as in the ark of Noe, which escaped the shipwreck of the whole drowning world. NOT THAT ARK in which were the tables of stone, as in the ark that journeyed in company with Israel throughout the desert; but an ark whose architect and inhabitant, pilot and merchant, companion of the way, and leader, was the Creator of all creatures, all which He bears in Himself, but by all is not contained” (Chrysippus, Orat. de laudib. Deip. (Blessed Virgin, p. 74).

As anyone can see, I did, in fact, answer you. The way you quoted Chrysippus was irresponsible, sloppy and misleading.

Matthew said:

"He did not claim they were not authentic, but said that they did not clarify what they meant."

I didn't say they were not authentic because I don't know. In any case, I'll second what Ree said. Even if your quotes are authentic, it matters very little. First, the Fathers are not infallible and often disagree with one another. Second, you would need to demonstrate that "an ark" and "ark of thy sanctification" are the same as "ark of the covenant." I'll give you a hint. Chrysippus, in the quote above, uses this kind of language about Mary and says very plainly that he is not referring to the "ark of the covenant".

Chrysippus

“An ark truly royal, an ark most precious is the ever-Virgin Mother of God, AN ARK WHICH RECEIVED THE TREASURE OF ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION.

Matthew Bellisario said...

How am I misquoting here? If you read past your caps emphasis, he tells you exactly what she is the Ark of.......I read this as her being the Ark of Jesus Christ, since he is the Creator or all creatures...correct? Once again, if she is the Ark, with Christ inside, what does that make her the Ark of? It makes her the Ark of the New Covenant. If A=B and B=C then A=C. I on not see your argument here. He is specifically saying that she is greater than the other two references, and then he goes on to say that she is ," but an ark whose architect and inhabitant, pilot and merchant, companion of the way, and leader, was the CREATOR OF ALL CREATURES, all which He bears in Himself, but by all is not contained” (Chrysippus, Orat. de laudib. Deip. (Blessed Virgin, p. 74)

So, once again, if she is the Ark of the Creator of All Creatures, to whom is she referring to if not Jesus Himself? I have equated the two, since his quote equates the two very clearly to me. Does anyone else see this?

BJ Buracker said...

Matthew,

Very briefly, I think the reason why J.R. and others are pouncing on this is because of the original context of the question. Svendsen had said that no one in the ECF's called Mary, 'The Ark of the Covenant.' You quoted Chrysippus as evidence of one who called her the Ark of the Covenant. However, as Mr. Polk has shown that while Crysippus does, indeed, call her an ark, he does not call her the Ark of the Covenant. In fact, Chrysippus explicitly states she is not the Ark of the Covenant.

The debate is not whether or not Chrysippus or others referred to her as an ark of some kind. Rather, it is specifically about the analogy of the Ark of the Covenant was applied to Mary in the EC.

Thus, to make your point, I think you would need to find ECF's who specifically call her, 'Ark of the Covenant.' Until you provide that, I think it will be difficult for you to prove your point.

In Christ,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

Matthew Bellisario said...

OK BJ, if she in not the Ark of the New Covenant, than what is the alternative? Is she not the Ark which holds Jesus Christ? Yes or no? We will stop there for now.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Hoffer:

One thing that keeps me from dogmatically insisting that the first quotation is spurious, is that the only direct negative indication I have is from the secondary (or perhaps tertiary) source footnote I mentioned in my blog article.

I would want to see what LeFort (or Lefort, however he capitalizes it) himself said (if anything) in the original article, for which I have a citation, but not a copy. Lefort is something of an orientals scholar, and while his evaluation would simply be a single evaluation of an arguably biased expert (the bias is that this is his baby, and of greater interest if it is genuine), nevertheless if he gave reasons for thinking the work genuine Athanasius (or Pseudo-Athanasius, contrary to his apparent bias) it would help to tilt the scales in one direction or other.

My post simply points out that the text's sourcing to Athanasius is questionable (and perhaps wrong), particularly given its apparently extremely lengthy obscurity.

I'm not questioning (at this point) the translation from Coptic to French or from French to English.

Obviously, the fact that the text was found in Coptic is another strike against trying definitively assert that Athanasius said it, because there is no way for us to reliable way to determine the accuracy/literality of the translation from Greek to Coptic (even assuming that there was an underlying Athanasian original).

Finally, I'm simply unaware of any scholarly authentication of the work - i.e. any peer-reviewed study of its genuineness. If one exists, I'd be very interested to read it.

Mr. Bellisario,

If I am reading Mr. Polk correctly, the situation is this:

Svendson says: no ECF's called Mary the Ark of the Covenant.
You "made several quotes from the early church regarding Mary as being the Ark, refuting the statement Eric Svendsen made" (your words)
Polk notes: the Chyrs. and Hes. quotatations (in translation) just say that she is an ark, not the ark (i.e. not the ark of the covenant).

Now, you are asking whether Mary is (per the quotations, I suppose) "the Ark which holds Jesus Christ." (presumably you mean "held")

I think Mr. Polk could grant you that for the sake of the argument, and it wouldn't change anything. After all, if you agree (and I don't see how you couldn't) that they are not referring to the Ark of the Covenant, then they don't really rebut Svendson's point, just as they wouldn't rebut Svendson's point if they said that Noah's Ark was a type of Mary.

Right?

Or did I miss something. I admit that I may have overlooked some aspect of the discussion.

-TurretinFan

BJ Buracker said...

Matthew,

I was going to respond further, but TurretinFan has said more or less what I would have.

Cheers,

BJ
Stupid Scholar

J.R. Polk said...

BJ & Turretinfan,

Yes . . . you two are reading me perfectly.

Mr. Bellisario's original argument pertained to Mary as an anti-type of the Old Testament's "ark of the covenant" not the "ark of the new covenant. I pointed this out to him before, but to admit as much destroys his whole argument -- so he won't.

Matthew Bellisario said...

What? Wait a second. We said the Ark of the Covenant, no one defined Old or New. It is quite obvious she is not the Ark of the Old. Anyone can see that it is also quite apparent that she is being referred to as the Ark of the New, since Jesus is the New, not the Old. No one would say that she was equated as the Ark of the Old, but the connection between the Old and New is made quite clearly in the quote I posted, otherwise the writer would never have used the term Ark. Who ever said that she was the Ark of the Old? We have been talking about the New Covenant the whole time, not the Old. The example is brought over from the Old equating the Ark, other wise none of these men would have even used the term.

You are talking in circles here to me. So far, every Catholic apologist that reads these quotes are reading and interpreting them them as I am. It is quite evident that Mary is the Ark of the Covenant, the New of course since no one would be using this in reference to the Old since they are all obviously referring to her as the Ark with Jesus being inside of it. As far as the quote you can see how the author makes her higher than all of the Old Testament examples by his final statement. It reads, "but an ark whose architect and inhabitant, pilot and merchant, companion of the way, and leader, was the Creator of all creatures, all which He bears in Himself, but by all is not contained” We need to read the complete text here, and not just part of it. So far none of your arguments have convinced me of anything, especially that Svendsen did not make a complete erroneous comment by saying that equating her to the Ark of the Covenant was a modern invention of Rome. As we can see, that is not the case. I am working on other projects right now and I don't have time to keep addressing this over and over here. You can choose to believe what you like.

As we see, the complete text clearly states that she is an Ark, clearly that of the New Covenant since the quote says she was insofar as it is referring to Jesus the creator of all creatures, and that she was not like that of the Old Testament examples, but greater than. The quote uses the analogy of the Ark in that she is bringing forth another Covenant greater than those he spoke of earlier in the quote. If you don't agree with my interpretation, then that is fine, we can let others read it and see how they interpret it. Thanks for all the fun.

Lvka said...

BJ Buracker and Stupid Scholar,
do You two really believe what You're saying? :-| When the Fathers constantly compare the Virgin to either one of the two Arks, and then go on to say that she was by far more greater than the two of them, how in God's Holy Name can You just say that they don't say what they say, but something else? :-|

Melissa said...

There are two things that I have enjoyed in my life with my beliefs in God. Daily Devotionals, such as Trail Thoughts: A Daily Companion for the Journey of Faith, and a good sense of humor.
Thanks for this post!

Rhology said...

4 quotes, 2 of which are bunk as far as your argument goes, and that's the Fathers "constantly" referring to Mary as the Ark?
This may just be my private interpretation, but this is some serious hyperbole.

Alexander Greco said...

Wow...The original argument was from Svendsen that the teaching of Mary as being the Ark of the Covenant is a modern teaching with zero support from the ECF. Mr. Bellisario has provided quotes to the contrary. Now it has become painfully obvious that a few people have situated themselves into obstinate denial of this. I am in utter amazement at the level of sophistry being used here. It is almost as pathetic as watching Galileo Galilei pleading with the obstinate Bishop to peer into his telescope and see his support for heliocentrism. A quote from Hillary Clinton would actually go well here (surprisingly). For you to continue arguing that those ECF's did not view Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant, "really require(s) the willing suspension of disbelief."

Paul Hoffer said...

Hi TF, Thank you for the information. If I am able to track down LeFort's article in La Museon, I will e-mail you a copy. Until I get to the bottom of this, I will no longer say that Athanasius "wrote", but "in a writing attributed to Athanasius" in the future if I reference the passage. Based on the citation you provided, I am not able to determine whether LeFort classified the Homily as "dubia" or "spuria".

Regardless, I still think the parallelism between the passages in 2 Sam. and Luke 1 is suggestive of the issue.

GeneMBridges said...

We said the Ark of the Covenant, no one defined Old or New.

You are now introducing caveats not in your original argument. I started to ask the question last night, but left it alone. How do you know that the reference is to the Ark of the Covenant?

And you can't seem to follow your own argument. The Ark of the Covenant for Mary is derived from allegorical interpretation. The argument moves like this:

Mary carried Christ in her womb.
The Ark of the Covenant carried the Tablets, et.al.
Therefore the Ark of the Covenant is an allegorical representation of Mary.

It matters not whether or not it is the ark of the old covenant or new. In fact, there is no such thing as a "ark of the New Covenant" other than Christ HIMSELF. That's pretty straightforward. Mary did not dispense law and gospel. Mary was never anointed with the blood of an atoning sacrifice once for all. Mary does not sit at the heart of the heavenly temple - Jesus does. Your assertions are idolatrous and downright blasphemous.

So you can equivocate all you want, but you're just plain wrong - and too stubborn to admit it.

So, why don't you take look at what it means to be "the ark of your sanctification?" The quote is drawing on common temple imagery - "arks" were commonplace in Greek and ANE religious imagery in general.

Lvka said...

The Ark and the Temple both contained something divine. Since Jesus was for nine months inside the Virgin's womb, the metaphors are used for both. The fact that references to Mary and Jesus as Temple and Ark are a perpetual leit-motive in the Fathers is true. One obvious place where one can find Patristic resources is in the Church's hymnography (just go each Sunday morning for Matins at Church). Examples abound.

Paul Hoffer said...

Hello all, TF wrote that the St. gregory Thaumaturgus's "Homily on the Annunciation" was considered a spurius work. It would appear that some scholars disagree with that assessment:

http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/gregory_thaumaturgus_homily.htm

This homily is consistent with the fact that this particular St Gregory also was the recipient of the first Marian apparation which would suggest that he had some special relationship with BV Mary.

Turretinfan said...

Mr. Bellisario,

"What? Wait a second. We said the Ark of the Covenant, no one defined Old or New."

The phrase "the Ark of the Covenant" (aka "Ark of the LORD" and "Ark of the Testimony") is a term in Scripture for a single, historical item. I think it's mentioned around 90 times in Scripture, mostly (if not solely) in the historical parts. I don't think you'll ever find Scripture clearly using the term allegorically.

There are other arks in Scripture, including Noah's ark and the ark in which Moses was placed by his mother.

I don't think anyone who believes in the virgin birth doubts that Mary's womb was something like an ark for Jesus as an unborn child, just as every mother's womb is like an ark for every unborn child. It provides a place of physical preservation for the child.

As far as types go, if we must force Mary to be an ark, the arks of Noah and Moses are more suitable, for Noah's ark held the hope for the future, and Moses' ark held the leader of Israel. In contrast, the Ark of the Testimony was an archive of history. A depository library full of dusty artifacts (important artificats to be sure).

But Scripture does not declare or suggest the ark (or any of the other arks) to be a type of Mary. Nor did the extent, verfiable ECFs - which it seems was Svendson's point.

Perhaps we have been talking past each other.

Svendson's point (from what I can tell) is that the idea of Mary being the ante-type of the Ark of the Covenant is an innovation: unknown in Scripture and the ECFs. As far as I can see, calling Mary "the ark of the new covenant" (i.e. using those words) would be an implicit identification of typology. We don't see that (as far as has been set forth) in the authenticated writings of the ECFs.

Perhaps you agree with that.

Mr. Hoffer:

You provided a link to support the authenticity of the alleged Gregorian homily you previously cited. Unfortunately, I think you'll find that you've confused one homily with another, for the homily provided on the page you mention does not mention any ark, or harp, or covenant - as far as I can find. If you disagree, and since the paragraphs are numbered, perhaps you could point out the paragraph you think is the same as what you previously quoted.

I encourage you to reconsider using Conybeare's comments on the alleged authenticity of "The Homily of St. Gregory the Wonder-worker, concerning the Holy Mother of God, ever-virgin" in support of the authenticity of the "Homily on the Annunciation to the Holy Virgin Mary."

-TurretinFan

natamllc said...

Well, what interesting read this Mother's Day, for me personally! I am sure Mother Mary would have a bit of motherly advice to us all:

AH, JESUS, remember Him? Without Him, none of us would be here!

I just have to put two cents of thought in here. Here goes:::>

Citing the Greek of the word "knowledge" used by Peter in 2 Peter 1:2:
ἐπίγνωσις
epignōsis
ip-ig'-no-sis
From G1921; recognition, that is, (by implication) full discernment, acknowledgement: - (ac-) knowledge (-ing, -ment).

the word "knowledge" in verse 5 from the same chapter:
γνῶσις
gnōsis
gno'-sis
From G1097; knowing (the act), that is, (by implication) knowledge: - knowledge, science.

When one reads the Scripture alone as the foundation for all other thought, one must keep in mind the laws of nature/science and God Himself.


One word Peter uses points to Him as IS BEING, while the other points to knowing Him.

By the one, we Know Him, by the other, we know Him by what was and is created by Them.

What is important then here for the average person, equally of the Elect?

Well I will cite Scripture alone:
Pro 30:1 The words of Agur son of Jakeh. The oracle. The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.
Pro 30:2 Surely I am too stupid to be a man. I have not the understanding of a man.
Pro 30:3 I have not learned wisdom, nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.
Pro 30:4 Who has ascended to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in his fists? Who has wrapped up the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is his son's name? Surely you know!
Pro 30:5 Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Pro 30:6 Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar.

Surely by way of the scholarly debate about to begin, it is my imagination that none would want to be rebuked and found a liar?

Yes?

It is just apparent to me that God uses Words, and so do we.

Yes, however it was and whoever it was, it is words we are reading hereon. It should be noted and thus warned that we should use the Words of God as written oracles unless we too want to be rebuked and found a liar?

Pro 18:19 A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
Pro 18:20 From the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
Pro 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Kepha said...

"In fact, all these writings that RCs are appealing to (except the Hippolytus one which they misread) are conspicuously absent from the usual compilations of early church writings. They're getting them from a secondary (at best) source document."

I think, generally speaking, this is the heart of the argument against Mr. Bellasario.

I have to say, Mr. Bellarsario, your research credibility has been tarnished. I hate to say this because I just got through watching your video response to Dr. White on the Eucharistic Tabernacle and I thought it was substantial. I have to ask you, did you know about the questions regarding the authenticity of your quotes? If so, upon what scholarly basis did you proceed to use them as authoritative historical evidences?

my3sons said...

I see the catholic side, again, trying to equate Mary with Jesus.

Lvka said...
The Ark and the Temple both contained something divine. Since Jesus was for nine months inside the Virgin's womb, the metaphors are used for both. The fact that references to Mary and Jesus as Temple and Ark are a perpetual leit-motive in the Fathers is true. One obvious place where one can find Patristic resources is in the Church's hymnography (just go each Sunday morning for Matins at Church). Examples abound.