Catholic Church Representative Admits to Fiction in Gospels
- Got this from another forum...
Gospels authored by non-witnesses and creatively (euphemism for
fiction) authored, observed the Roman Catholic clergyman Raymond
Brown was one of the first Catholic scholars in the United States to
use the historical-critical method to study the Bible. In 1943,
reversing the approach that had existed since Providentissimus Deus
fifty years earlier, the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu expressed
approval of historical-critical methods.
He died at St. Patrick's Seminary, Menlo Park, California. Cardinal
Mahony hailed him as "the most distinguished and renowned Catholic
biblical scholar to emerge in this country ever" and his death, the
cardinal said, was "a great loss to the Church."
1) We must reject the thesis that the Gospels can be harmonized
through a rearrangement whereby Jesus appears several times to the
Twelve, first in Jerusalem, then in Galilee. Rather, "Variations in
place and time may stem in part from the evangelists themselves who
are trying to fit the account of an appearance into a consecutive
narrative. Brown makes clear that the post-resurrection appearance
accounts are creative, substantially non-historical attempts to
reconstruct events never witnessed by their respective authors.
2) Brown explains that Matthew probably created fictional
genealogical links back to Abraham and David also "to appeal to the
mixed constituency of his [Matthew's] community of Jewish and Gentile
Christians." As evidence that Jesus was really not a descendent of
David at all, Brown points out that:
There is not the slightest indication in the accounts of the ministry
of Jesus that his family was of ancestral nobility or royalty. If
Jesus were a dauphin, there would have been none of the wonderment
about his pretensions. He appears in the Gospels as a man of
unimpressive background from an unimportant village.
Brown goes even further, calling into question the reliability of
large sections of the New Testament. He encourages his readers to
face the possibility that portions of Matthew and Luke "may represent
3) He stresses that Christian writings about virginal conception
intend to reveal spiritual insights rather that physical facts.
Because record of the virginal conception appears only in tow Gospels,
and there only in the infancy narratives (which Brown suspects are
largely fictional), the Catholic theologian tactfully concludes that
"biblical evidence leaves the question of the historicity of the
virginal conception unresolved." Brown mentions the possibility that
"early Christians" might have imported a mythology about virginal
conception from "pagan or [other] world religions," but never intended
that that mythology be taken literally.
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