Paul Hoffer in Comment 60: Hello all, since Mr. Bugay indicated in his comments to my article on his misuse of Rev. Lampe’s book that I should have directed my energies to interact with Chapter 41, I have had the opportunity to take up some time studying the thesis presented there.
This, by the way, fails to comply with the Called to Communion posting guidelines, which mandates that one address someone in the second person ("you") rather than in the third person voice.
PH: It seems to be founded on a notion that Rome’s titular churches (home-churches) were so fractionated that they could not have been overseen by a single bishop.
A mere "notion"?
Long before Lampe, there were scholars writing about the absence of a monarchical bishop in Rome. In the 40's and 50's, Oscar Cullmann ("advisor to three popes") was detailing significant shortcomings in the traditional Roman position; this was followed up by intensive studies by Daniel O'Connor ("Peter in Rome") Raymond Brown et. al ("Peter in the New Testament"), as well as others. Lampe's detailed work provided solid confirmation for what others had held based on things long understood in the history of that topic.
For example, Schaff has sections on "the Peter of History" and "The Peter of Fiction." Sorting out these two has been difficult, not least because "the Peter of Fiction" was a strong and mighty early pope. The reality of it is quite different, although Peter may in fact have died at Rome, it is highly questionable that he founded the church there, (it is certain that "Peter and Paul" did not "found" the church at Rome -- a testimony that is given by Irenaeus), it is highly questionable that he ever "commanded" anyone, given his role and status as one who traveled there as a missionary.
There are many other factors too that go into the "notion" that there was not a monarchical bishop at Rome. Ignatius, who was an aficionado of the word "bishop" does not seem to have been able to locate a bishop when he writes to Rome. True, this "could" have been an oversight, but for him to purposely have ignored such a person would have been a great affront.
In a completely separate piece of evidence, Hermas states clearly that the city was ruled by a plurality who "fought among themselves." You may want to say that "this doesn't explicitly deny" that there was a monarchical bishop. But both of these are far clearer statements than those upon which an early papacy has historically been founded; but even if there were a monarchical bishop in charge of Hermas's unruly bunch, that would speak volumes about the incompetence of such an individual's [lack of] leadership.
Lampe's work provides confirmation for many, many points of fact that other researchers had strongly suspected. That is the value of his work.
Further to this, you risk here committing the word fallacy of semantic anachronism, that is, using a word in a later manner that was not intended by the New Testament writers. You must be aware that this happens all the time, for example, whenever Catholic writers see the word "episkopos" and related -- they think it means what "bishop" means to day -- and worse, when Catholics see "Peter" they reflect "pope" back on that. Two worse fallacies could not be envisioned in this type of study.
What safeguards have you taken to assure yourself (much less, our readers here!) that you are not committing these fallacies?
PH: Reviewing the data that he sifts through does not actually show that the Roman churches were fractionated and is based on a more modern-view of what a mono-episcopal bishop was supposed to be. As pointed out by David Albert Jones, a professor from Oxford and Oswald Sobrino, such an argument is based on several false assumptions and is a poor argument.
Your mention of names here does not show how the arguments actually shape up. It does not surprise me that partisan Catholics would put forward their own takes on these things. Bryan Cross (to his credit) tried to provide an analysis of Lampe's own analysis of Hegesippus's "list". Unfortunately, the tone of this, as I noted in that thread, was very much a tone that said, "these things as I've written them are not 100% excluded, and therefore, given that they support the Roman tradition they must not only be potentially true but actually true." It is wishful thinking of the highest order.
PH: As pointed out by David Albert Jones, a professor from Oxford …
You mean the bioethicist, who is not a historian?
PH: … and Oswald Sobrino, such an argument is based on several false assumptions and is a poor argument.
Who is this guy anyway?
PH: Adrian Fortesque, Henri Daniel-Rops, Prof. Edward Weltin, … seem to concur based on the preliminary researches that I have started …
How could they "concur"? Fortescue (whose work I have outlined here) pre-dated all of these studies. But I would encourage you to keep reading. It will give you a good idea of just how far away from the truth of history someone like a Fortescue could get.
Henri Daniel-Rops also pre-dated this work and therefore could not have interacted with it. It does not seem as if Weltin published in this area. You must be in some arcane sources.
As far as Bernard Green, OSB, it does seem as if he's addressing Lampe's work. But again, he does so from the position of a partisan, and his "objections" seem to be along the lines of those raised by Bryan Cross.
What is your intention in throwing out these names? Are you intending to show that there is some sort of great groundswell of scholarship that is addressing and defeating the body of scholarship that I've presented? If so, you are hardly making a dent. In reality, your citation of these individuals shows your desperation in this matter -- the distances you must travel to find someone who holds a contrary opinion.
PH: Note too that Mr. Bugay does not address the fact that Schatz, Sullivan, Eno or even Raymond Brown whose views tend to mirror in some respects Lampe’s views, do not argue (Schatz and Sullivan especially) that this argument negates the validity of apostolic succession or the basis for the papacy.
I'm trying to take one thing at a time; Perhaps you could tell me how this comment is not a deflection from the main subject?
Nevertheless, I want to make you happy. To be sure, Schatz and Eno pretty much exclusively dealt with the papacy. Sullivan talked about the transition [and it was not a close transition] of "apostles to bishops". He does not try to "negate the validity of apostolic succession" but rather he does clearly state at the end of the work that he (like Brown) believes that the lengthy "process" by which "bishops" succeeded the Apostles was directed by God and therefore was of "divine institution." To quote him (as I have done in various places, "Although development of church structure reflects sociological necessity, in the Christian self-understanding the Holy Spirit given by the risen Christ guides the church in such a way that allows basic structural development to be seen as embodying Jesus Christ's will for his church."
If you want to cite Raymond Brown -- he is even more detailed with respect to the New Testament:
A more traditional Catholic explanation of why individual Christians are not specifically designated as priests in the NT is that the apostles who presided at the Eucharist were priests in everything but name, for the name was too closely associated with the Jewish priests of the temple. But this explanation is based on a serious oversimplification about apostles in the NT, as we shall see in Chapter Two, and suffers from the added difficulty of unwarrantedly supposing that in NT times the Eucharist was thought of as a sacrifice and therefore associated with priesthood.
Because of the origins of Christianity in Judaism we would really have to suppose just the opposite: animal sacrifice would be thought of in terms of blood and there was no visible blood in the Eucharist. True, there are sacrificial overtones in the traditional eucharistic words of Jesus (the mention of the shedding of blood, the covenant motif, the "for you" theme), but this coloring was understandable because Jesus spoke these words before his bloody death. There is no proof that the Cristian communities who broke the eucharistic bread after the resurrection would have thought that they were offering sacrifice.
In these observations I am not questioning the legitimacy of the development in later theology whereby the Church came to understand the Eucharist as a sacrifice; indeed, a recent study by a Calvinist argues that there was real continuity in such a development and that it is loyal to the implication s of the NT. I am simply pointing out that such a theology was a post-NT development, and so we have no basis for assuming that early Christians would have considered as a priest the one who presided at the eucharistic meal. (Brown, "Priest and Bishop," New York: Paulist Press, 1970, pg 16.)
The fact is that the connection of "authority" of "priestly succession" going back to the New Testament is a false one, and Rome's recent bombast that "the communities of the Reformation" don't have this succession is just a non-starter for many Protestants who do know and understand the roots of this "development" and reject it.
The fact is that all of Rome's supposed foundational connections to authority -- priests, bishops, popes -- are later developments that can easily be rejected on the basis of the New Testament. Lord willing I will get around to putting all of these pieces together.
PH: The whole notion is fractionation is sort of making a mountain out of molehill as all it shows is that the Catholic Church back in the day practiced setting parishes up based on geographical boundaries which we still do today.
If the papacy is claiming that it has authority that it never had, then it is not a molehill, it is an important topic to investigate. Your statement here about "geographic boundaries" is another red herring that ignores the whole area of what authority actually meant in the earliest church. Nobody denies that there was a practice of setting up parishes based on geographic boundaries. In fact, if you had read more closely, you would understand that Lampe uses this very practice to establish the picture he draws of house churches, by tracing the titular parishes of the fifth century, for whom we have names and signatures.
All this shows is that, as a lawyer, you are skilled in the art of obfuscation -- you throw out a lot of highfalutin words that seem to have some meaning, but when investigated more thoroughly, there is much to be desired.
How much better would it be for you to work for clarity in these matters? Doesn't your Catholicism bind you to honesty? Or does it rather bind you to blind partisanship?