Thursday, July 02, 2009

Scott Hahn and "Prima Scriptura"

This is a very interesting thread over on Catholic Answers:

Scott Hahn and "Prima Scriptura"?

"I was at a friend's for lunch today, and I made the mistake of mentioning Dr. Scott Hahn's name... To our collective surprise, my friend reacted both violently and vocally (?!). He is a graduate of Steubenville (both BA and Masters in Theology), and apparently had Dr. Hahn as a professor in the early 90s. He has some very harsh things to say about him, both personally and "professionally"...! One of his most vehement claims is that Dr. Hahn teaches "prima scriptura", explaining this to us as a belief that Scripture is a "higher" authority than Tradition. My friend says that because of this, Dr. Hahn is heretical and goes against the teachings of the Church, and that when he called Dr. Hahn on it in class, he was ignored."

The answers and interaction are quite fascinating, watching the Catholic participants dialog back and forth on the relationship between Scripture and Tradition, agreeing and disagreeing. Some highlights:

"I would not say that traditions don't change. Some traditions do in fact change along a timeline and this is the reason for measuring tradition with scripture. If there is a contradiction between the two, scripture is right. I would not say that traditions don't change. Some traditions do in fact change along a timeline and this is the reason for measuring tradition with scripture. If there is a contradiction between the two, scripture is right."

"In describing prima Scriptura, Jimmy Akin writes, "Apostolic Scripture does have primacy over Apostolic Tradition (and the Church as well; see Vatican II, Dei Verbum 11). We look to it first and foremost because it is inspired, giving us God's ipsisima verba. But we also look to Apostolic Tradition to help us understand Apostolic Scripture, since it conveys God's ipsisima vox."As Akin explains, the words of Apostolic Scripture are inspired, but "while the original giving of Apostolic Tradition was inspired, the words in which it has been passed down to us are not inspired."

"Sounds to me like the Church does not put the "prima" in "prima scriptura", but I would like to hear others that can find documentation to the opposite."

"The Catechism clearly states that Scripture and Tradition are equal. That being said, stating that Scripture has primacy does not necessarily mean that it is greater than Tradition"

"Prima Scriptura is excluded by "Dei Verbum," which iterates and reiterates the conjoining of Tradition plus Holy Scripture;"

"The underlying assumption of prima Scriptura must be examined: that Tradition as it was initially transmitted before the death of the last was inspired, but Tradition as we receive it today is not inspired."

"Only Scripture is inspired; Tradition is without error, but the theological notion of inspiration has always been applied to Scripture alone. In line with that, Hahn does not assert that Tradition was ever inspired."

"I think the point being missed is that neither scripture nor tradition is authoritative in the sense being discussed. The Pope and the Magesterium are authoritative. Both scripture and tradition are measured by that authority."

"There are three main points that I take issue with Dr. Hahn regarding Prima Scriptura. Here are the three points that he made. (please keep in mind that this was published in 1992, and I am using it to speak of Prima Scriptura and not Dr. Hahn personally for I do not know if he holds the same positions now) 1. God is not the author of Sacred Tradition. 2. Sacred Tradition is not Inspired. 3. The Magisterium is a channel of Divine Revelation along with Scripture and Tradition.If the different advocates of Prima Scriptura have something in common, which is essential James Atkins and Dr. Scott Hahn at this point, it is point #2, that Sacred Tradition is not Inspired. That is really what defines the term "Prima Scriptura". Thus Scripture is the only inspired source (though they still maintain that Tradition is infallible)."

"Tradition does not all come from Scripture. It predates Scripture and was the measuring stick by which works were judged for admission to the canon. Tradition also contains things not found in Scripture, which is in agreement with Paul, who tells us to adhere to all that has been passed on, whether orally or in writing."

"actually, no. scripture predates tradition. in the early church the first cue was taken from the old testament prophecies. the new testament was written with the old testament in mind. the early traditions came from the old testament and as the new testament was being written, tradition is the interpretation of the scriptures. this does not pit one against the other but instead causes them to go hand in hand, but we always begin with scripture because that is where we get tradition from (the church's infallible interpretation of scripture)."

...and so on.

7 comments:

Carrie said...

These types of conversations are always interesting to read.

David Waltz said...

Carrie wrote:

>>These types of conversations are always interesting to read.>>

Indeed; you may find THIS THREAD, interesting as well.


Grace and peace,

David

bkaycee said...

"The Catechism clearly states that Scripture and Tradition are equal. That being said, stating that Scripture has primacy does not necessarily mean that it is greater than Tradition"

"Prima Scriptura is excluded by "Dei Verbum," which iterates and reiterates the conjoining of Tradition plus Holy Scripture;"


Rome has spoken, case closed!

Why is this discussion not bordering on disbelief of declared dogma?

Thank goodness for the clarity and unity Rome provides.

Four* Pointer said...

"Scripture comes from Tradition!"

"No, Tradition comes from Scripture!"

"The Bible is the only "word that comes from God!"

"Yes, but we need a bunch of man-made Traditions to understand God's word!"

Ay-ay-ay. It all kinda sounds like something that rhymes with Tetzel.

Or.....this

Ken Temple said...

Please check out the link that David Waltz gave (read the comboxes and my disagreements with DW)

and also this one:

http://articulifidei.blogspot.com/2009/06/ken-temple-mike-liccione-and-randy-on.html (read the comboxes)

give some feedback, please.
Ken

pilgrim said...

While you will find Roman Catholics that proclaim they believe Tradition & Scripture are equal and others that proclaim Scripture is over Tradition, I have found that in practice most Roman Catholics I encounter place Tradition over Scripture. They tend not to admit it--but it sure looks that way.

As a former RC I have a lot of experience in this realm, I am not referring to a few isolated examples, but many over the years.

I do admit this is not true of all RC's--but is is true of most I have encountered.

bkaycee said...

Pilgrim, I agree, except the majority of Catholics, would give you a blank stare if asked about tradition and certainly scripture.

Better catechised Catholics would most likely say that Tradition is needed to rightly interpret scripture, clearly making scripture subordinate to tradition.

The RCC officially claims the 3 legged stool of equality. Scripture is given much lip service in theory, but in practice, scripture is a distant 3rd.

Several verses of Scripture is read during the mass and that is probably the only exposure to scripture that the vast majority of Catholics ever experience.