Archive for the ‘Metzger’ Category

Metzger vs. Michuta

January 20, 2008

UPDATE: I’m not totally satisfied with this post, and I’m thinking of deleting it. Part of the problem is that the link I have provided is to the main page of Michuta’s web site, and not to a particular page on which the article could be found on any permanent basis. I’m thinking about deleting this one.

Metzger writes: “Finally on 8 April 1546, by a vote of 24 to 15, with 16 abstensions, [sic] the Council issued a decree (De Canonicis Scriptures) in which, for the first time in the history of the Church of the Church, the question of the contents of the Bible was made an absolute article of faith and confirmed by an anathema.” (source) (p. 246)

Michuta responds: “Metzger was really saying was that the Decree on the Canon promulgated on April 8, 1546 [sic] was the first decree on the Canon to include an anathema, which was adopted by a 24 to 15 vote with 16 abstaining.” (source)

Michuta also claims: “Metzger didn’t really read Trent very carefully because the vote he recorded likely wasn’t even on the anathema and even if it was “nothing was decided” by it.” (Id.)

We’ll be digging into this in more detail a bit later. It will be interesting to see if Metzger got a fairly simple historical fact wrong, or whether Michuta did. Considering that Metzger is a renowned scholar, and Michuta isn’t, it would seem to be a safe bet to go with Metzger.

Nevertheless, even experts make mistakes (in fact, the present author is hoping to present some Metzger mistakes on slightly more complex issues soon).

So far:

1) The date given by Metzger is the date on which the decree was adopted.
2) Metzger is claiming that the decree was adopted by the 44% plurality vote (thus, Michuta is wrong about at least that detail).
3) Therefore, by virtue of (2), Michuta’s other claims that his Protestant opponents cannot read Metzger are mistaken. It is apparently Michuta who cannot read Metzger.
4) It is odd that Michuta, who seems to have access to some materials on the council, would not simply say, “No: the decree was issued on April 8, 1546, by a vote of: _______,” and then cite his source.

To be updated as the occasion demands.

To decide the matter, we would need to identify what Metzger’s basis for the claim is. Where did Metzger get the 44% number? Michuta has speculatively reconstructed a vote that he thinks matches the 44% number. Michuta calls it a “straw vote” and says it wasn’t even on the anathema. This suggests Michuta may have found the wrong vote.

Sadly, Prof. Metzger died recently (less than a year ago), so unfortunately he is not around to defend his name against Michuta’s charges.


UPDATE: In an act of hypocrisy, Dave Armstrong has taken the opportunity to accuse James White of deficient research for relying on secondary sources (“deficient research” and “miscalculated a bit concerning his description of a vote at the Council of Trent”) after recently defending Steve Ray’s reliance on secondary sources (link). Of course, that issue is simply among the weeds. So far, Michuta’s claim that the decree was not adopted by the vote identified by Metzger is unsubstantiated. Let’s see if Metzger was right or wrong. (UPDATE to the UPDATE: DA has now claimed in his own combox that he was not criticizing James White for using secondary sources, and clearly his post doesn’t use the words “secondary sources.” Since Metzger (the secondary source) clearly gives the same information White does, and since the page DA links to mentions that fact … readers may draw their own conclusions about DA.)

FURTHER UPDATE: Carrie has given some details of this in a recent post at Beggars All Reformation. Teste Carrie, Metzger cited Jedin (second link) (older vol. 1, vol. 2) (new German version) (older German version) (several of Jedin’s works may be getting conflatted in this rushed update), who gives the details of the vote. He also cited a German author, (Maichle, Albert) Der Kanon der biblischen Bücher und das Konzil von Trient (second link) (1929). (Carrie also corrected a typo found in this post.)

ADDITIONAL UPDATE: Carrie has given some more details (here). I’d summarize her points, but then you’d miss the fun way in which she presents them. As I note in the comment section there: What I find interesting is Michuta’s reliance on “Concilium Tridentinum.” It’s not as though the Council of Trent itself published a journal of its proceedings. Or perhaps I’m wrong. And, if so, I wonder if Michuta could direct us to that work. Based on the typography in the Michuta’s cut-n-paste jobs, I imagine he’s referring to the immediately succeeding volume (i.e volume 5) of this work (link to volume 4).

One wonders whether we can expect out-of-date photos of Metzger, Jedin, etc. along with more claims of “deficient research” and “miscalculat[ion]” to pop up on DA’s site any time soon. After all, “Michuta locuta est, causa finita est.”


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