Beckwith’s Bait and Switch

Francis Beckwith has a recent blog post entitled, “Sola Scriptura and the canon of Scripture: a philosophical reflection” (link). Let’s take a look at his reflection.

Beckwith begins:

Because the list of canonical books is itself not found in Scripture—as one can find the Ten Commandments or the names of Christ’s Apostles—any such list, whether Protestant or Catholic, would be an item of extra-Biblical theological knowledge.

There is a rather obvious problem with this claim. Given Scripture (as Beckwith does for the Ten Commandments or the names of Christ’s apostles) a list of canonical books is readily derivable from the Scriptures. As a thought experiment, one could imagine receiving a Bible with the table of contents accidentally smudged beyond recognition. That table of contents could be easily restored from the text in a matter of moments. Given Scripture the list of canonical books, while not found as such, is easily derived.

Of course, if one doesn’t grant that we already have the Scriptures, as such, the matter of creating a list becomes more difficult. But that’s not a challenge facing sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura begins with the reader possessing the Scriptures. It is a given of the system.

After his initial reflection, Beckwith provides an historical anecdote:

Take for example a portion of the revised and expanded Evangelical Theological Society statement of faith suggested by the two ETS members following my return to the Catholic Church. (The proposed change failed to garner enough votes for passage, losing by a 2-1 margin). It states that “this written word of God consists of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments and is the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behavior.”

I think we all understand the intent behind this sort of amendment, whether or not it was needed for the ETS statement of faith. But let’s see what Beckwith’s reflection on this anecdote is:

But the belief that the Bible consists only of 66 books is not a claim of Scripture—since one cannot find the list in it—but a claim about Scripture as a whole.

One cannot find the list in it, only in the sense that one cannot find the list of Psalms in the book of Psalms. In other words, the list is not given as such. However, a list may readily be generated from the Bible or from the book of Psalms.

Beckwith continued:

That is, the whole has a property—“consisting of 66 books”—that is not found in any of the parts.

At this point, Beckwith is actually discussing something different than his initial claim. Even if Revelation stated, “And by this book I mean these sixty-six books,” and then proceeded to list them, it would still be the case that the book of Revelation would not have the property consisting of sixty-six books.

In fact, it is frequently the case that the whole set of anything has a property relating to multiplicity that the parts individually lack. Thus, for example, the set of all breeds of cats has the property “consisting of X number of breeds” whereas no individual breed has that property.

To take a more topical example, “consisting of 150 psalms” is a property of the Psalter, but not of any individual psalm. This reflection of Beckwith’s may be an interesting pastime for his students. On the other hand, for the reasons explained above (i.e. since it would be true even if the Bible had an explicit table of contents) it is actually irrelevant.

Beckwith concluded:

In other words, if the 66 books are the supreme authority on matters of belief, and the number of books is a belief, and one cannot find that belief in any of the books, then the belief that Scripture consists of 66 particular books is an extra-biblical belief, an item of theological knowledge that is prima facie non-Biblical.

This has essentially been addressed above. Given the Bible, we can easily sit down and count the number of books. The fact that it is not explicitly part of the text of the Bible is actually a quite trivial point, if we are given the Bible.

What Beckwith’s argument essentially asks the reader to do is to derive the belief about the number of books of Bible without the Bible. Then having taken away the Bible, Beckwith claims that the number of books can’t be determined. But this is simply a game of bait and switch. Beckwith lures the reader in with a proposal to derive something from the Bible but then takes away the Bible.

Finally Beckwith asks:

Where have I gone wrong in this reasoning?

To which we may reply that he went wrong when he made the switch from letting us have the Bible to taking it away from us. If we have the Bible, we can easily tell you the number of books, even if the table of contents is missing. If we don’t have the Bible, we’re not dealing with Sola Scriptura any more.


81 Responses to “Beckwith’s Bait and Switch”

  1. Ryan Says:

    Internal evidence of the 66 book canon:God's sheep hear His voice, and they follow it. God doesn't author confusion in amongst His sheep. Does God speaks to His sheep through the 66 book canon, then, as Protestants believe? Well, has the church has reached a consensus that the 66 book canon is God's word? Yes. The only reason I can think of why "C"atholics would be surprised at this would be because they assume they are a part of the church.Oops.

  2. CathApol Says:

    So Ryan, does not also God's Word contain the warning that false Christs and false prophets would arise to fool "even the elect?" I agree, God doesn't author confusion amongst His sheep – but confusion, diversion, temptation, etc. all exist – even among His sheep. In JMJ,Scott<<<CathApol Blog

  3. Ryan Says:

    "So Ryan, does not also God's Word contain the warning that false Christs and false prophets would arise to fool "even the elect?""Jesus says they would try; He never said they would succeed. Moreover, as the sheep WILL hear the word of God, and WILL NOT follow the voice of a stranger, it is exceedingly obvious the elect what is God's word.If you and your fellow "C"atholics wish to critique the Protestant doctrine of canon of Scripture reductio ad absurdem, fine. But you're going to have to do so with the understanding that the other Protestant doctrines are true for the sake of argument. By and large, I have found "C"atholics, once given a reasonable reply, will constantly shift the argument, as you have done, to an entirely different subject (in this case, perspicuity). Why don't you guys just challenge these premises in the first place and spare us the frivolous superficialities?

  4. CathApol Says:

    Ryan,You used the sheep analogy – I went with it, so don't accuse me of shifting the argument! I posted a point by point refutation of Steve Hays' article, which includes Frank Beckwith's article here: I invite your comments/criticism there.

  5. Ryan Says:

    "…don't accuse me of shifting the argument!"But you are, so I will.

  6. CathApol Says:

    sw: "…don't accuse me of shifting the argument!"Ryan: "But you are, so I will." I see how you work. You use an analogy, I go along with it and take it to a logical conclusion – and I am shifting the argument. You are "fooled" by following a "different gospel" which preaches a different canon – even though the authority which gave you the New Testament Canon that you accept is the same authority which gave us the larger Old Testament Canon. That authority was right for the New Testament – but not the Old Testament. Yep, good logic there. "Oops."

  7. SP Says:

    Read the article and did not notice any 'bait and switch.' God's sheep hear His voice, and they follow it. God doesn't author confusion in amongst His sheep.That is what the Mormons say about the book of mormon.

  8. louis Says:

    "does not also God's Word contain the warning that false Christs and false prophets would arise to fool 'even the elect?'"Yes, and it is the pope who claims to be Christ on earth.

  9. Alphonsus Says:

    "Yes, and it is the pope who claims to be Christ on earth."I think this counts as a strawman…

  10. Daniel Murphy Says:

    TurretinFan,I agree with much of your response, but I think there is a strain of Beckwith's line of reasoning that you do not address. Beckwith seems to (perhaps unconsciously) raise these three closely related but distinct issues: the justification for believing that the canon consists of (1) 66 books, (2) the 66 particular books recognized by Protestants, and (3) *only* (these) 66 books. I think you respond adequately when it comes to (1) and (2). The fact that these particular 66 books are canonical supervenes on the fact that this book is canonical and this book is canonical and… etc.But (3) seems more tricky. Given Scripture (or given our belief that each of these 66 books individually is canonical), it follows that the 66 books (as a whole) are canonical; but does it follow that *only* these 66 books are canonical (such that there is no 67th or 68th piece of God-breathed writing)? To infer this, we need not only the Scriptures, but also the additional proposition that these are *all* the Scriptures. It is not clear that this additional proposition can be determined from the (recognized) Scriptures themselves.When Beckwith says that the property of the whole is not "found" in any parts, I don't think he means that no part has the property of being 66 books; but rather that in no part is the property of the whole *attested to* (i.e., no part *says* that the whole has this property). Does the same problem arise in the case of every individual book (how do we know that we have *all* of the Psalms, for instance, as opposed to only a portion's being extant)? Perhaps, but the problem seems more serious in the case of the canon as a whole; for a number of reasons. E.g., there is an inter-textual unity had by a single work that is lacking (or at least not as present) in the case of a shelf of discrete works. It's easier to tell if the ending of a work has been excised than if one work has been taken off a shelf containing several discrete works.I haven't followed the comments at this site or at Beckwith's site, but perhaps a conflation of (3) with (1)/(2) may explain why some might think his remarks pose a serious problem for Sola Scriptura. One can't deduce that (A) the scope of God-breathed writing consists *only* of 66 books by counting the 66 books we have; and one may (fallaciously) infer from this that we also can't deduce that (B) the 66 books we have are all, as a whole, canonical. But if we grant (B) and then turn to (A), the problem, if there is a problem, is clearly a much smaller one than opponents of Sola Scriptura would like (and think) there to be.

  11. Ryan Says:

    CathApol wrote:"I see how you work. You use an analogy, I go along with it and take it to a logical conclusion – and I am shifting the argument."It's not a logical extension, as I showed, and you missed my point. You're arguing against my premises. My point is, while I'm fine with that, spread the word to your fellow "c"atholics that the Protestantism has a valid argument for the canon."That authority was right for the New Testament – but not the Old Testament."What are you even talking about?

  12. Ryan Says:

    Alphonus wrote:"That is what the Mormons say about the book of mormon. [It is a] question-begging conclusion."It's our first principle. We accept the authority of God's word because it's God's word. There is no higher authority. If you want a prior, justificatory premise for every proposition, you'll be led to infinite regress. Instead, we see that the Protestent first principle is internally consistent, understandable, and epistemologically relevant, which is really all you can ask of a first principle. Mormons may claim the same thing as we do, but I bet you'll agree with me that their claim can be reduced to absurdity by showing their beliefs result in contradictions.

  13. Turretinfan Says:

    Oops, I removed Alphonsus' accidental post and his comment noting that it was accidental after Ryan had already responded (at least in part) to it.CathApol:Yes, various issues exist among the sheep in this life. However, the Scriptures are able to thoroughly and completely equip the man of God."the authority which gave you the New Testament Canon that you accept is the same authority which gave us the larger Old Testament Canon"uh – no it isn't""different gospel" which preaches a different canon"There are two things mixed together here. Rome's different gospel is a separate issue from Rome's error on the canon.Alphonsus:I think you'd be surprised at the strong terms that are sometimes used by the popes to describe their own position. However, the debate over the sense of "Vicar of Christ" or "Vicar of the Son of God" is really beyond the scope of this post.-TurretinFan

  14. Turretinfan Says:

    Daniel,Thanks for your thoughts. The issues you raise take a more nuanced form than Beckwith's, but the result is mutatis mutandis the same. Sola Scriptura presupposes that we have located the Scriptura. Pointing out that we can't locate the Scriptura in the first place without the Scriptura (or with only a part of it) is simply a recognition of that original presupposition.Part of Sola Scriptura is what we colloquially call "tota Scriptura." That is to say, "the whole of Scripture."-TurretinFan

  15. Turretinfan Says:

    SP wrote: "Read the article and did not notice any 'bait and switch.'"Ah well, better luck next time!Regarding: "God's sheep hear His voice, and they follow it. God doesn't author confusion in amongst His sheep."SP wrote: "That is what the Mormons say about the book of mormon."Is it surprising that a false religion would mimic a true one?

  16. John Bugay Says:

    TF: I love this: SP wrote: "Read the article and did not notice any 'bait and switch.'"Ah well, better luck next time!

  17. Alphonsus Says:

    "Is it surprising that a false religion would mimic a true one?"You do realize that's a double-edged sword, don't you?"It's our first principle. We accept the authority of God's word because it's God's word. There is no higher authority."How do you know that any given writing is God's word, though?"Instead, we see that the Protestent first principle is internally consistent, understandable, and epistemologically relevant, which is really all you can ask of a first principle"You're assuming that only one set of premises is "internally consistent, understandable, and epistemologically relevant." Are you able to prove that?

  18. SP Says:

    [quote]Yes, and it is the pope who claims to be Christ on earth.[/quote]Offering such obvious strawmen like that only helps to prove the Catholic position because it lets people know that your position is so weak that you have to invent things to prove your position. just a tip.

  19. Ryan Says:

    "How do you know that any given writing is God's word, though?"Historical reason: I know it because I'm God's sheep. Furthermore, I can defend it because its an epistemologically relevant, understandable, and internally consistent first principle. If you're looking for a premise, however, you're begging the question, as you're implying an infinite regression of prior premises is necessary to justify one proposition."You're assuming that only one set of premises is "internally consistent, understandable, and epistemologically relevant.""No, I'm not. I never said that at all, actually. I recommend you read this essay, which may answer more of your questions than a short com-box exchange can allow:

  20. Turretinfan Says:

    "You do realize that's a double-edged sword, don't you?"I'm not afraid of double-edged swords – that's Scripture's description of Scripture."How do you know that any given writing is God's word, though?"We accept God's word by faith. He uses a variety of means to persuade us."You're assuming that only one set of premises is "internally consistent, understandable, and epistemologically relevant." Are you able to prove that?"I think it's enough if he can prove that all comers fail.

  21. louis Says:

    "[quote]Yes, and it is the pope who claims to be Christ on earth.[/quote]Offering such obvious strawmen like that only helps to prove the Catholic position because it lets people know that your position is so weak that you have to invent things to prove your position. just a tip."And what exactly did I invent?

  22. Turretinfan Says:

    SP: That's essentially a rehash of what Alphonsus already said. See my response to him above.

  23. louis Says:

    TF,May I post some quotes on this topic?

  24. SP Says:

    And what exactly did I invent?Well, I guess nothing if you purposefully conflate "Vicar of Christ" to be the same as "Christ." On the other hand, if you are honest with the definition of 'Vicar of Christ' than you created a straw man by saying that the popes claim to be Christ. So, if in dialog it is fair game to completely ignore the proper definitions of words than I guess we'll all have a fun time accusing one another of false things. (By the way, if you want to be true to the Reformed Confessions than you can at least call the Pope the Anti-Christ)

  25. Turretinfan Says:

    louis:It is ok with me if you post the quotations, and if SP/Alphonsus want to explain why they don't find your quotations meritorious, I'll give them one comment each to explain that, and I'll chime in, after which we can leave off that tangent.SP:I'm not sure if that is the route louis intends to take. It would seem prudent for you to wait until he gives his evidence before you decide on its merit.-TurretinFan

  26. natamllc Says:

    SP,that was interesting!Hey, there are three that I would call anti-christ, my flesh, this world and the devils.Now, last I checked, Benedict the xvi is a human. I think he of his own flesh has enough to worry about, don't you?But, yes, that whole institution known as the RCC from the head down to their bottom dollar "is "anti-christ".Now, can the Devil use a willing soul in this era transforming the being into the Biblical Anti-Christ? Yes.

  27. louis Says:

    Unfortunately it is going to take time to verify from primary sources, and I have other business right now. I have multiple quotations but would like to double-check them. If they prove to be fallacious, I'll admit it. In the meantime, this will have to suffice, although it directly addresses SP's latest comment: "Christ and his Vicar constitute one single Head… Thus, they who think they can hold to Christ… without holding faithfully to his Vicar on earth, are placed in dangerous error. If this visible head be taken away… the Redeemer is so obscured… that… salvation can no longer be discerned or reached." (Pius XII, "Mystici Corporis"). Hopefully I'll be back to post again later this evening.

  28. SP Says:

    louis.I can bet that I've seen every 'quote' that you would wish to re-produce here. Its a shame that apologists resort to quotes, many of them fraudulent and others of them grossly misinterpreted, in order to try to prove that the Catholic Church teaches something that she flatly rejects.The Church solemnly professes that there is no God but the Blessed Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. I think we all know that.

  29. dtking Says:

    How do you know that any given writing is God's word, though?Augustine: You can find nothing better than to praise your own faith and ridicule mine. So, after having in my turn praised my belief and ridiculed yours, what result do you think we shall arrive at as regards our judgment and our conduct, but to part company with those who promise the knowledge of indubitable things, and then demand from us faith in doubtful things? while we shall follow those who invite us to begin with believing what we cannot yet fully perceive, that, strengthened by this very faith, we may come into a position to know what we believe by the inward illumination and confirmation of our minds, due no longer to men, but to God Himself. NPNF1: Vol. IV, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental, Chapter 14. Latin text: Nihil aliud elegisti, nisi laudare quod credis, et irridere quod credo. Cum igitur etiam ego vicissim laudavero quod credo, et quod credis irrisero; quid putas nobis esse judicandum, quidve faciendum, nisi ut eos relinquamus, qui nos invitant certa cognoscere, et postea imperant ut incerta credamus; et eos sequamur, qui nos invitant prius credere, quod nondum valemus intueri, ut ipsa fide valentiores facti, quod credimus intelligere mereamur, non jam hominibus, sed ipso Deo intrinsecus mentem nostram illuminante atque firmante? Contra Epistolam Manichaei Quam vocant Fundamenti Liber Unus, Caput XIV, 42:183.

  30. natamllc Says:

    Pastor King,I hope TF will allow this or at least let you answer my question about Tertullian?I was reading somewhere that after a time he went over to Montanianism?Any truth to that that you know of?

  31. John Says:

    "Given Scripture a list of canonical books is readily derivable from the Scriptures."Given scripture and only scripture you can derive a list. However up until relatively recently such a thing never existed! There were manuscripts containing less than the protestant canon, and manuscripts containing more than the protestant canon, but none containing only the protestant canon. Even in the age of printing this situation continued till a few hundred years ago.So your theory about deriving a correct canon means waiting until after Trent!And then of course, who are you relying on, but the decision of some publisher who decided to print this edition with these books, in contradiction to another publisher who prints a different set."Sola Scriptura begins with the reader possessing the Scriptures."It's not enough to possess the scriptures. If you've got a bookshelf full of books, you've got to know which ones are the scriptures. That's the problem.

  32. John Bugay Says:

    If you've got a bookshelf full of books, you've got to know which ones are the scriptures. That's the problem.That was exactly the issue with the canon. Read the Muratorian Canon, the earliest "canon" that is extant (c. 200 ad), or the canon given by Origen, or Eusebius. The "canon" is not a "list." These are rational explanations for why each book is recognized by the church.For example, each gospel (and Acts) was the product of an apostle or an individual who traveled with an apostle. These were decided upon individually, yes or no. There's very good evidence that Paul's letters were in circulation as Paul's letters during his lifetime. At this point you are very close to the complete New Testament. Letter of James? Peter? John? Yes, yes, yes. This is no big deal.

  33. Turretinfan Says:

    Mystici Corporis Christi, Pius XII, 29 June 1943 (Sections 40-41):But we must not think that He rules only in a hidden or extraordinary manner. On the contrary, our Redeemer also governs His Mystical Body in a visible and normal way through His Vicar on earth. You know, Venerable Brethren, that after He had ruled the "little flock" Himself during His mortal pilgrimage, Christ our Lord, when about to leave this world and return to the Father, entrusted to the Chief of the Apostles the visible government of the entire community He had founded. Since He was all wise He could not leave the body of the Church He had founded as a human society without a visible head. Nor against this may one argue that the primacy of jurisdiction established in the Church gives such a Mystical Body two heads. For Peter in view of his primacy is only Christ's Vicar; so that there is only one chief Head of this Body, namely Christ, who never ceases Himself to guide the Church invisibly, though at the same time He rules it visibly, through him who is His representative on earth. After His glorious Ascension into Heaven this Church rested not on Him alone, but on Peter, too, its visible foundation stone. That Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head is the solemn teaching of Our predecessor of immortal memory Boniface VIII in the Apostolic Letter Unam Sanctam; and his successors have never ceased to repeat the same.They, therefore, walk in the path of dangerous error who believe that they can accept Christ as the Head of the Church, while not adhering loyally to His Vicar on earth. They have taken away the visible head, broken the visible bonds of unity and left the Mystical Body of the Redeemer so obscured and so maimed, that those who are seeking the haven of eternal salvation can neither see it nor find it.

  34. John Says:

    "Letter of James? Peter? John? Yes, yes, yes. This is no big deal. "How is it no big deal when Chrysostom and the Syriac churches rejected James, 1,2 Peter and the epistles of John? And then who wrote Hebrews?Stating "No big deal", is not actually a very good response.

  35. John Bugay Says:

    You are right: for the Eastern Orthodox, it was a big deal. There is still confusion over the canon in the EO church. Bruce Metzger calls attention to a most astonishing conciliar decision taken by the Trullan Synod held near the end of the seventh century. In 691 and 692 this council of the Eastern bishops met in the domed room (trullus) of the Emperor Justinian II’s palace at Constantinople in order to pass disciplinary canons by way of completing the work of the Fifth (533) and Sixth (680) General Councils. By one of its first decrees it determined the series of authorities which were to make law in the Church. Among these were the eighty five so-called Apostolic Canons (reproduced in the Appendix of this book), then the decrees of a certain number of Synods, notably those of Laodicea and Carthage; and finally a great number of Fathers, including, among others, Athanasius and Amphilochius. The Council thereby sanctioned implicitly, so far as the list of Biblical books is concerned, quite incongruous and contradictory opinions. Thus, as we have seen earlier, the Synod of Carthage and Athanasius recognized the minor Catholic Epistles and the Book of Revelation, while the Synod of Laodicea and the eighty-fifth Apostolic Canon omitted them. Furthermore, this same Canon includes as canonical the two Epistles of Clement which the other authorities did not receive. Such an extraordinary situation can be accounted for only on the supposition that the members of the Council had not even read the texts thus sanctioned.In view of the confusion implicit in the pronouncement made on the canon at the Trullan Synod, it is not surprising that the later history of the Bible in the East continues to exhibit uncertainty and vacillation. According to a tabulation made by Westcott, in the tenth century no fewer than six different lists of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were received in the Greek Church. (Metzger, “The Canon of the New Testament,” pgs 216-217)The bottom line of my last comment was that the heart of the New Testament was understood to be very much complete, very early on. Questions about individual books were common, although none of the questionable books had a big impact on the doctrine of the church. Chest-beating on the part of Roman apologists, about how much the infallible church was needed to determine the canon, is very much exaggerated.

  36. John Says:

    "for the Eastern Orthodox, it was a big deal."You mean, for THE CHURCH it was a big deal, since thats all there was then."the heart of the New Testament was understood to be very much complete, very early on."Yes, if by that you mean 70% of it, and if you arbitrarily (by the standards of your own ecclesiology) exclude what we call heretical groups. So as long as you realise your bible is inerrant with a 30% margin for error, IF you piggy back of our ecclesiology (but not our epistemology), or perhaps 100% margin for error if you don't, then fine.

  37. SP Says:

    TFan.Can you elaborate what you are trying to demonstrate with that quote?Did you read the whole letter or just the part that is/was quoted on various anti-Catholic websites that are trying to prove that the Pope thinks he is God.Please. If the best we can to prove that the popes think they are Christ on earth is post several statements over the 2000 history of the church and stretch their meaning WAY beyond what is intended than I think its a dead matter.

  38. louis Says:

    SP,I have read the whole document, and you should too. They are not random quotes. The encyclical is a theological explanation of the "mystical body of Christ" in the church. Here is more:"This appellation of the Body of Christ is not to be explained solely by the fact that Christ must be called the Head of His Mystical Body, but also by the fact that He so sustains the Church, and so in a certain sense lives in the Church, that she is, as it were, another Christ.Christ our Lord wills the Church to live His own supernatural life…The Church, a perfect society of its kind, is not made up of merely moral and juridicial elements and principles… On the contrary, as Christ, Head and Exemplar of the Church is not complete, if only His visible human nature is considered… or if only His divine, invisible nature… but He is one through the union of both and one in both… so it is with his Mystical Body [the Church]…."We wish to speak in a very special way of our union with Christ… It is at once evident that this union is very close… so close that… the Divine Redeemer and the society which is his body form but one mystical person, that is to say… the whole Christ. Our Savior himself… did not hesitate to liken this union to that wonderful unity by which the Son is in the Father, and the Father in the Son….Thus the church becomes, as it were, the filling out and the complement of the Redeemer, while Christ in a sense attains through the Church a fullness in all things. Herein we find the reason why… the mystical Head, which is Christ, and the Church, which here below as another Christ shows forth his person, constitute one new man, in whom heaven and earth are joined together in perpetuating the saving work of the cross: Christ we mean, the Head and the Body, the whole Christ."

  39. SP Says:

    louis.What did Paul call the Church?Answer: The Body of ChristOh, the shame!

  40. louis Says:

    Obviously Roman Catholics have a different conception of the body of Christ than we do. To me, "that Christ and His Vicar constitute only one Head" is claiming that the pope is Christ on earth, as I originally said. He presumes to speak for Christ, not in the normal teaching sense, but in an authoritative "mystical union" sense. And this raises the question of whether he truly has that authority or is a false Christ or a false prophet.You're free to disagree with my opinion, but since you're apparently not up to discussing it, I won't waste any more of my time on it.

  41. SP Says:

    louis.The Catholic Church simply uses biblical language when talking about the Church which is mystical as it is Christ's body.If you take this to mean that we all believe that the Pope is literally God than that is simply unfortunate.I think it is reasonable to ask a Catholic to defend Catholicism not a jack chick version of poppycock. Rather than actually 'debate' something as silly as whether Catholics believe that the Pope is God, why not simply just survey the 2000 years of Catholic teaching that is at our disposal? And, in doing that, if you find a statement contained in an ancient document that was translated from other languages that seem to teach something so contrary and foul to the rest than it would be wise to try better to understand that statement in its context and not try to present it as a malicious prooftext. This is the last I am saying about the Pope being God because frankly it is such a ridiculous and silly tangent.

  42. Turretinfan Says:

    SP:My own posting of the quotation was simply to ensure that you had the full quotation in its immediate context, as well as a link to the more complete context.You've missed two opportunities in responding to Louis:1) [negatively] You haven't explained why the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" can't reasonably be restated the way that Louis has restated it; and2) [positively] You haven't explained what the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" does mean.You've simply mocked Louis' position, called it names, and compared it to an inferior grade of apologetics. That may persuade folks who don't want to accept what Louis was saying, but it doesn't help Louis understand why you disagree with him, and it doesn't help any of the rest of us decide whether to think you didn't answer because you think the answer is so obvious, or you didn't answer because you can't answer – because, perhaps, you really have no idea what "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" (Unum solummodo Caput constituere Christum eiusque Vicarium) means.I'd like to encourage you to take the time to compose another comment (or two or more, if 4096 characters are not enough) to explain negatively why Louis' interpretation is wrong and positively what the right interpretation is.A similar (though on a slightly different topic) quotation that I am surprised Louis did not raise is: "The priest offers the holy Sacrifice in persona Christi; this means more than offering 'in the name of' or 'in place of' Christ. In persona means in specific sacramental identification with 'the eternal High Priest' who is the author and principal subject of this sacrifice of His, a sacrifice in which, in truth, nobody can take His place." (Letter titled "Dominicae Cenae" of John Paul II, 24 February 1980)

  43. louis Says:

    SP,First, I never said the pope claimed to be God. I said he claimed to be Christ on earth. There is a difference. Second, the "ancient document" you refer to was written in 1943.Third, all I did was quote from the document itself. It provides it's own context, and it was quoted from extensively to show that. At this point, I will defer to TF's latest post. And in accordance with his previously stated terms, I will give you the last word between you and me.

  44. SP Says:

    TFan.Louis said: "It is the pope who claims to be Christ on earth."Nowhere has any Pope ever claimed to be Christ on earth.If you want to talk about what "Vicar of Christ" means I'll simply point you to how the Church defines the term here and here.The 'Vicar' is Christ's visible representative on earth and Christ is the King and Head of the Church but He's in Heaven. Therefor Peter's successor is akin to His "prime minister" on earthThis relates back to Isaiah 22:15, which Christ quotes when He gives Peter the keys to the Kingdomcont'd

  45. SP Says:

    To flesh that out, allow me to quote Scott Hahn at length:From here.One of the greatest Protestant Biblical scholars of the century supports this — W. F. Albright, in his Anchor Bible Commentary on Matthew. I opened it up. I was surprised to see, "Peter as the Rock will be the foundation of the future community, the church. Jesus here uses Aramaic and so only the Aramaic word which would serve His purpose. In view of the background in verse 19, one must dismiss as confessional interpretation any attempt to see this rock as the faith or the confession of Peter." In other words, Professor Albright is admitting as a Protestant that there is a bias in Protestant anti- Catholic interpreters who try to make Jesus' reference to the rock point only to Peter's faith or confession. "To deny the pre-eminent position of Peter," Albright says, "among the disciples or in the early Christian community is a denial of the evidence. The interest in Peter's failures and vacillations does not detract from this pre- eminence, rather it emphasizes it. Had Peter been a lesser figure, his behavior would have been of far less consequence. Precisely because Peter is pre-eminent and is the foundation stone of the Church that his mistakes are in a sense so important, but his mistakes never correspond to his teachings as the Prince of the Apostles." We will see." Albright goes on in his commentary to speak about the keys of the kingdom that Jesus entrusted to Peter. Here's what he says, "Isaiah 22, verse 15, undoubtedly lies behind this saying of Jesus. The keys are the symbol of authority and Father Roland DeVoe rightly sees here the same authority vested in the vicar, the master of the house, the chamberlain of the royal household in ancient Israel. In Isaiah 22 Eliakim is described as having the same authority." Now let's just stop here and ask, "What is he talking about?" I think it's simple. Albright is saying that Jesus in giving to Peter not only a new name, Rock, but in entrusting to Simon the keys of the kingdom, He is borrowing a phrase from Isaiah 22. He's quoting a verse in the Old Testament that was extremely well known. This, for me, was the breakthrough. This discovery was the most important discovery of all. Let's go back to Isaiah 22 and see what Jesus was doing when He entrusted to Peter the keys of the kingdom. cont'd

  46. SP Says:

    What's happening here? Well, in verse 19 it says, "I will thrust you from your office and you will be cast down from your station and on that day I will call my servant Eliakim, the son of Hilkiah, and I will clothe him with your robe and will bind your girdle on him and will commit your authority to his hand, and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah; and I will place on his shoulder the key of the House of David." Now the House of David is like, you know, the House of Bourbon. It's a dynastic reference. The House of David is the Davidic kingdom, the Davidic dynasty. We know this because David has been dead for hundreds of years when this is happening in Isaiah 22, "I will give you the key of the House of David. He shall open and none shall shut, and he shall shut and none shall open. He will become a throne of honor to his father's house." Look at all of the symbols of dynastic authority that are being given to this individual. First of all, an office. Second, a robe. Third, a throne and fourth, keys, the key of the House of David, these royal keys. Now, what is going on here? I'll just summarize it in rather simple terms. Hezekiah was at the time, the king over Israel. He was the son of David, hundreds of years after David had died. He was in the line of David and also he was ruler over the House of David. Now all kings in the ancient world had, as kings and queens have these days, cabinet officers, a cabinet of royal ministers. Like Margaret Thatcher is the Prime Minister, so there are other ministers under the Queen in Great Britain. Hezekiah, as King, had as his Prime Minister before Shebna who proved unworthy. So he was expelled, but when he was expelled, he left an office vacant. Not only did you have dynastic succession for the king, but you also have a dynastic office for the Prime Minister. When Shebna is expelled, there is an empty office that needs to be filled and that's why Eliakim is called to fill it. Now, Eliakim is a minister in the cabinet, but now he is being granted the Prime Minister's position. How do we know? Because he is given what the other ministers do not have, the keys of the kingdom, the key to the House of David. That symbolized dynastic authority entrusted to the Prime Minister and dynastic succession. Why? Because it's the key of David; it's the House of David. Let me go back and try to simplify this even further. I'll read the quote. Albright says, "In commenting upon Matthew 16 and Jesus giving to Peter the keys of the kingdom, Isaiah 22:15 and following undoubtedly lies behind this saying." Albright, a Protestant, non- Catholic insists that it's undoubtable that Jesus is citing Isaiah 22, "The keys are the symbol of authority and DeVoe rightly sees here the same authority as that vested in the vicar, the master of the house, the chamberlain of the royal household of ancient Israel." In other words, the Prime Minister's office. – End Quote -So, examining the statement, "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head", in light of this understanding makes it clear that the Pope does not think he is "Christ on Earth" in the sense that Louis is suggesting.

  47. Alphonsus Says:

    "I'm not afraid of double-edged swords – that's Scripture's description of Scripture."That's not the sense I meant:

  48. SP Says:

    In conclusion, the ‘Vicar of Christ’ is understood in such a way as to not diminish the place of Christ’s shepherd whom he entrusted to ‘feed his sheep’ but neither does it in any way confuse the singular nature of the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity. To suggest that the Pope (or any other priest) thinks that they are literally the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity is simply absurd.Furthermore, the 'in persona Christi' topic is a massive theological undertaking but no…neither does this mean that we believe that Priests are literally the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity. Now, seriously…if you guys really thought that we believed that the Pope is Jesus Christ incarnate than you would do well to devote your entire lives to this singular issue within the Catholic Church because that issue alone would mean that the Church is anti-Christian to the core.Louis: "I didn't say that the Pope was God…I said that he was Christ on Earth."- Is Christ not the 2nd person of the Trinity?

  49. Turretinfan Says:

    SP:For your reference, I've previously disposed of those "keys" arguments (in general and refuting Dave Armstrong).Unfortunately, your comments don't really seem [negatively] to explain why the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" can't reasonably be restated the way that Louis has restated it; and [positively] to explain what the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" does mean.In fact, the lengthy quotation from layman Hahn doesn't actually address or interact with the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" much less explain what it does and doesn't mean.Likewise, I didn't see any reference to that statement at the links you provided.Are you aware of anyone in your church who has ever attempted to explain what "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" does and does not mean?

  50. Turretinfan Says:

    "That's not the sense I meant:"I'm familiar with the expression.

  51. SP Says:

    TFan,What I have shown is that the Catholic Church in no way teaches that the Pope or any other priest is literally the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity. In fact, the lengthy quotation from layman Hahn doesn't actually address or interact with the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" much less explain what it does and doesn't mean.In order to understand what that statement means you must first take the time to understand what "Vicar" means and I believe that 'layman' Hahn's explanation is sufficient. Likewise, I didn't see any reference to that statement at the links you provided.It is not the Church's job to keep a record of all the quotes that Protestants pick up on from the archives of the Catholic Church and log them on the internet with lengthy retorts. It’s pretty simple TFan. If you read the statement "Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head" you can take the effort to put that statement in the context of the teaching with which it is couched or you can just pull out some assumptions and think the worst. I cannot help it if you chose the later.

  52. louis Says:
  53. SP Says:

    So, now we are moving on to other instances where you are going to insist prove that the Pope thinks he is the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity? I really don't have time for that.

  54. louis Says:

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. The field is yours…

  55. Turretinfan Says:

    Yes, this isn't fair. I'll start a new thread on the topic louis started. Louis, if you have additional quotations you wanted to bring to SP's attention, feel free to send me an email (you can get my address through my blogger profile).

  56. louis Says:

    I deleted the comment. My apologies. No, I could multiply quotes all day long but, like SP, just don't have time. I think what has been cited up to now is enough to establish the point.But, let's be careful about saying, "no pope has ever said"….

  57. Blogahon Says:

    louis,I can easily say that no pope ever claimed to be the 2nd person of the Trinity. But, by all means start a thread.

  58. Blogahon Says:

    SP is Blogahon…under wife's sign in.

  59. Turretinfan Says:

    SP, previously: "- Is Christ not the 2nd person of the Trinity?"

  60. Joe Heschmeyer Says:

    TurretinFan,I've done my best to respond to your post here ( Feel free to take a look and let me know what you think, if you'd like. Thanks!

  61. louis Says:

    SP/Blogohan,You said: "I can easily say that no pope ever claimed to be the 2nd person of the Trinity."The issue was whether the pope claimed to be "Christ on earth". I gave no theological content to that statement, merely that he claimed to be Christ on earth.Now, you have already been provided with the theological background to that claim in Mystici Corporis Christi, with the pope claiming that "Christ and his Vicar are one only head", etc.Now here is the pope commending that very term:"Against this background of love towards Holy Church, we readily understand the devotion of Saint Francis of Assisi for 'the Lord Pope', the daughterly outspokenness of Saint Catherine of Siena towards the one whom she called 'sweet Christ on earth'… These testimonies are representative of the full ecclesial communion which the Saints, founders and foundresses, have shared… They are examples which consecrated persons need constantly to recall…. (Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Vita Consecrata, of the Holy Father John Paul II, March 25, 1996).At this point I think I have responded adequately to the charge that I was "inventing" things. I have nothing else to say to you on this topic.

  62. Blogahon Says:

    Ok Louis.If all that you meant by this statement, "Yes, and it is the pope who claims to be Christ on earth">, is that a Pope as Vicar of Christ and including the understanding of Vicar of Christ professed by the Catholic Church has used language consistent with that understanding…than sorry for making something out of nothing.I must confess that I thought that you were trying to tell us that the Pope literally thought he was the 2nd person of the Blessed Trinity. Glad this wasn't the case.

  63. John Bugay Says:

    than sorry for making something out of nothing.So here by your own admission you have leapt to unwarranted conclusions and misattributed something that was not intended. What a surprise.

  64. SP Says:

    John,So, about a month ago you made a big fuss and accused me of being a liar.Since then I have asked you repetedly to show me just one instance where I lied.Still waiting…If Person A calls Person B a liar but cannot show even one instance of a lie that Person B told…what does that make Person A? And, pretty cool of you to jump on me for admitting that I jumped to the wrong conclusions. Only the world of Bugay can an admission of fault be used as a weapon against me. PS…out the blogosphere I have seen you lately claim to have been Opus Dei "for three years" yet in other places you limit your claim to having "attended evenings of reconcilliation with Opus Dei." Surely you know that attending some events does not make one 'Opus Dei.' Which is it? Did you take a vow? If not than you were not Opus Dei. You aren't trying to lie are you?

  65. John Bugay Says:

    Two things Sean. I've never said "liar." I've always said "misrepresent, fudge, etc." You need to show me an instance where I said "liar." Second, you should not be in such a hurry to have this list produced. But then again, you have no shame. You yourself have just now been accused of misattributing, and by the grace of God you have admitted that it's true. Your history is thick with such instances of misrepresentation.You really need to come down off your high horse, because you are a real embarassment to yourself.

  66. Blogahon Says:

    I've recently linked to a thread at Greenbaggins when no fewer than six individuals cited you for having lied, fudged, mis-stated, or evaded something.Here.This is also the thread where you promised to prove my lying.You said: In deference to you, then, I will go through that thread, and pull the individual comments out and link to them. I'll do that in another location.Not to mention the fact that in that thread it is simply not the case that 'six individuals' cited me for having lied. That was, well, a lie on your part. Further, I feel that I am in good company as you also called another Catholic a liar in this thread. "But Hahn is a liar…"I'll be holding my breath to point us all to Hahn's 'lies' as well.Second, you should not be in such a hurry to have this list produced.Produce it John. Just produce it on your blog that nobody reads. If you can show where I have lied than I will never post on another Reformed blog ever again. Pins and needles…

  67. Blogahon Says:

    Sorry TF for getting sucked in to the Bugay black hole on your blog.

  68. John Bugay Says:

    Sean — don't quote yourself blaming me for calling you a liar. Produce a link with me saying the word. Until you do, it's just another one of your exaggerations/mischaracterizations/stretching the truth/facts, etc.My thread at PB is fully documented. I'm glad you're reading that.

  69. natamllc Says:

    Finding some of what is going on in here, I have to paste from merriam webster dictionary:Date: 15901 : to use equivocal language especially with intent to deceive2 : to avoid committing oneself in what one sayssynonyms see lie

  70. natamllc Says:

    The question for me to ask then is, "is equivocate" a gentleman's way of saying you lied?If you lied aren't you then a liar?

  71. natamllc Says:

    And, for a wretch like me, for one to side with Beckwith's bait and switch tactics as clearly proven by this article, I would be very cautious of anyone siding with the switch side!Does anyone else have that wretched feeling?

  72. Turretinfan Says:

    "The question for me to ask then is, "is equivocate" a gentleman's way of saying you lied?"It can be. Sometimes, however, people equivocate unintentional. It is as if they lose their way in the forest of words, and think they recognize one tree when, in fact, its another.Beckwith appears to be rather new to the theology scene, and may perhaps simply be unfamiliar with the terms involved and their proper distinctions.

  73. John Bugay Says:

    Natamllc – I've interacted with Sean for a long time — the "method" he employs is constantly to not address what the person is actually saying, not to admit "you are saying 'A", but he will constantly, constantly say, "you are saying 'A', so that mean's you are really saying 'A + x" …He did it here: Louis had quotes from Popes calling themselves "Christ on earth." And Sean took that up a notch: "When did a pope ever say he was the second person of the trinity?" That's not what Louis was saying. But Sean was trying to force him to defend an assertion that he never made. And as you saw, Sean was forced to admit here that that's exactly what he did.That's what I mean when I say he's fudging, misattributing, etc. And he did get called for it in that Greenbaggins thread, by about six or seven different people.This is a common tactic of some Christians in history. In fact, it has become the basis for some huge disputes.The one I have in mind is the Cyril/Nestorius characterizations in the 5th century Christological disputes. Cyril did exactly what Sean is doing here. He said, in effect, "you said "two natures," that means you are splitting Christ into two persons. That is NOT what Nestorius said or did, and as you may have seen from some of the discussions, historians and theologians and bishops basically have vindicated Nestorius. (See the OLTV clip I posted of Kallistos Ware saying, "Nestorius himself was not guilty of the Nestorian heresy." Christian history is thick with such instances. Pope John Paul II for all practical purposes vindicated Nestorius with the 1994 Christological agreement. But he could not actually name Nestorius in this agreement, because it would have blatantly contradicted both the spirit and the letter of the 5th Ecumenical Council, Constantinople II in 553 ad, which did condemn Nestorius by name. (see this posting: )So call it what you will, equivocation, bait-and-switch, misattributing something to a person that he didn't say, then condeming him for having said that, it amounts to bearing false witness against one's neighbor, and it does not sit well at all with me.

  74. SP Says:

    John,You said that I ‘lied.’ Now show me where I ‘lied.’ There is no difference between saying that I “lied” and calling me a “liar,” especially when in the same breath you say that I am the ‘least honest individual’ you have ever debated online. Stop trying to hid behind the minutia and man up and produce the ‘lists’ of lies that you promised on January 8th. In this thread comment #781 you listed six people (yourself included) as people who have ‘caught me fudging.’ Yet you are the only person who ever accused me of having lied or ‘fudged.’ So, it wasn’t six people. That makes your very statement a lie. The only person in that thread who said anything remotely akin to accusing me of lying was Perry, an Orthodox Christian who took you to school on that thread, who said that I ‘seemed to be equivocating.’ That is not the same thing as saying that I ‘lied’ or that I ‘fudged.’ You even listed Jason on that thread and he has never even come close to accusing me of lying. So, you clearly lied on GB when you listed people who have ‘caught me fudging.’ I knew you were lying but I thought I’d let it pass because so few people pay attention to what you say in the first place. But then you come back on this thread months later and hyper-link your lying comment and offer it as proof that I have ‘lied.’ If you were an honest man you would stand behind your words and attacks against my character and demonstrate where I have ever lied. But you cannot do that. You won’t admit that you are wrong. Your absolute hate for the Catholic Church has turned into a hate for Catholics. And because you hate me you won’t admit that you wronged me. I suggest that you take a fresh look at Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion on the 10 commandments and read what he has to say about men who wrongly attack the character of other men.

  75. Turretinfan Says:

    SP:It looks to me like JB's criticism is pretty much based specifically on his experience with you and his perception that you misrepresent things on a frequent basis. There's no reason (that I've seen) to convert that into him having hatred etc.That said, I'd prefer if this discussion of the character of JB and SP (in general terms) were discontinued in this thread. If there is some specific instance here, in this thread, where someone is misrepresenting the facts, lets bring that to light.

  76. natamllc Says:

    JB,thanks for you direct reply.My point was well taken then by you.I did want to open up to the equivocation of the FB article that TF properly with a even hand unraveled.It is interesting that "Constantine" in his remarks got FB's quick reply over at his site.Here's Constantine's conclusion and for me, very insightful:::>"….So to answer your question – “Where have I gone wrong in this reasoning?” – you have presented an unsound argument for your case. You have used false premises and come to unnecessary conclusions.".To be equivocal one must do that, whether or not TF's read was charitable or not, that is, he is a novice with terms of theological premises, it is my view, he did that.Now to have SP come in here to support what I see as that false premise makes him party to the lie does it not?Now, to bring in here what you did, for what it is worth, seemed to me to be uneven and not so so charitable, that's why I made those remarks.But back to Beckwith, our frontline is really with the ignorant and stupid and I use those words charitably because I find myself so ignorant and stupid especially after spending some time in here reading the stuff we have been reading in here over the years!My smarts are shrinking and my ignorance is exploding. It makes me wonder if I don't have a complex of cruelity working in the background of my mind?I find the same emotion when I read Triablogue and that gang or bullies too.We need more of both, don't you agree?SP, in fairness to you, I did go over to GB's and found myself lost in the comments and quite frankly, what does it matter whether or not you lied? Come back to your premise for standing up for Beckwith and put on a good fight!As it is you have been sidelined defending your faith in your personal integrity and not another's. Get back up and start swinging in the right ring!

  77. John Bugay Says:

    At TF's request, I have gone through the thread which Sean and I have been discussing, and I've collected many of the instances in which various individuals have accused him of misrepresenting, equivocating, not presenting something truthfully, etc. (The terminology changes, but it all describes the same inability that I've perceived in Sean in which he repeatedly fails represent the truth accurately, and to do so in pursuit of his agenda).That is here:

  78. John Bugay Says:

    Summarizing the various accusations for those who don't want to go through the whole sordid mess at the other link. Here are what individuals besides myself have said of the way that you interact:You seem to be equivocating …You apologized for "not being clear" but the rejoinder was "this was not an issue of clarity but rather of accuracy."This sort of laziness is unsurprisingYes, it’s as though you’re totally ignoring both my statements and the documentation I have brought in to support them on this point.It seems pretty clear to me the reason you’ve stayed with it for as long as you have is because you believe that if you undermine the Protestant distinction between justification and sanctification you also undermine sola fide, and that now that you see that strategy has not worked you want to say that it’s “not the question.” I think that is got caught and then started to employ backtracking and smokescreens.I presume you will at least concede you erred on that point. “The quotation you provided doesn’t say that…”Do you need help comprehending what you read…?These are all things that other individuals said to you. I'd say there is a pattern here. And in the link I gave, at least two of them have provided huge amounts of documenation for their accusations. The others all referred back to a specific instance.For eight other individuals to cite you in this way is not something you ought to be proud of.

  79. SP Says:

    And…I posted a response to John on his blog that he hasn't approved.

  80. john Says:

    This is the problem with SS. SS says we begin with scripture as a given, yet scripture cannot be an axiomatic beginning or given, like we see in maths, of say for example, the natural truth of 1=1. This argument is developed as follows – 1. SS requires a prior definition of what it means for a text to be inspired. 2. God moves man co-naturally for man to write any text. This manner of writing a text is a natural movement of God and is common to any written text that is not inspired.3. God moves man co-naturally and above his nature for man to write an inspired text. This manner of writing a text is essentially a super-natural movement of God and is not common to any written text, but only found in the inspired text.4. As inspiration is from a supernatural act of God, then we cannot know from natural knowledge alone, that a text is inspired, as the charism of inspiration is an act of God beyond human reason and beyond anything stated in a text. 5. To begin with the inspired text as a given of the system means we have a supernatural truth that is beyond any naturally knowable truth as a foundation of the system. 6. However man cannot know a supernatural truth from natural reason alone and therefore SS cannot claim the scriptures as a given, without ignoring the charism of inspiration as a supernatural act of God, which can only be known by God revealing that supernatural truth. 7. So if scripture is a given, then the revelation from God concerning the inspiration of the texts is also a given. But this means that man has the same knowledge as God regarding the inspiration of a text, without God telling man of the inspiration of the text. 8. To have scripture as a given involves an implied self contradiction concerning God having to reveal a supernatural truth to man, and then denying God has to reveal a supernatural truth to man.9. Conclusion – It is not possible for a belief system to have as its foundational belief, a canon of inspired scripture without being self contradictory.JM

  81. john Says:

    "But the belief that the Bible consists only of 66 books is not a claim of Scripture—since one cannot find the list in it—but a claim about Scripture as a whole.One cannot find the list in it, only in the sense that one cannot find the list of Psalms in the book of Psalms. In other words, the list is not given as such. However, a list may readily be generated from the Bible or from the book of Psalms."This is an extraordinary claim that “a list [of the canonical books] may readily be generated from the Bible” certainly needs to be evidenced, after all this is the claim of Catholics such as Beckwith that the canon cannot be determined from the texts. Your statement also contradicts a previous statement by you that the scriptures are a given in SS. If they are a given then we don’t need to find the books in the text because they are axiomatic to the system. If they can be found in the texts, then the canon is not axiomatic, but is derived and therefore not a given.Wherever we turn in SS there are more and more problems.JM

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