Wednesday - August 17, 2016
1. The predominant Two-Source Hypothesis (TSH) has cast doubt on Jesus as Divine Lord and Savior in most U.S. Catholic colleges for almost 50 years. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has sharply criticized it.
2. Essential to TSH credibility is the assumption that Matthew, Mark and Luke, the canonical Greek synoptic Gospels, were written by anonymous second generation writers.
3. Dead Sea Scroll (DSS) Hebrew – the Hebrew of the time of Christ – now indicates that the Gospels did not originate in the generation after Christ but in the first generation, and that the canonical Greek Gospels are largely translations of primarily Hebrew Gospels, almost certainly written by Matthew, Mark and Luke. These scholarly findings are incompatible with the THS.
4. The Two-Gospel Hypothesis (TGH) is considered the next most credible among exegetes.
5. The Two-Gospel Hypothesis is consistent with DSS Hebrew and with Canonical exegesis as proposed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
RECOMMENDATION: That the Church call upon biblical scholars to; (a) thoroughly reevaluate the two-source hypothesis in light of post-Dead Sea Scroll advances in Biblical translation, as well as the devastating effects TSH has had on faith as noted below by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and; (b) thoroughly consider alternative hypotheses, including the faith-affirming two-Gospel hypothesis, and select one to replace the two-source hypothesis in centers of Catholic higher education.
In 2002, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger noted that the two-source theory, also known as the two-source hypothesis, is “accepted today by almost everyone.” Four years later, as Pope Benedict XVI, he wrote with deep concern:
"As historical-critical scholarship advanced . . . the figure of Jesus — became increasingly obscured and blurred . . . All these attempts have produced a common result: the impression that we have very little certain knowledge of Jesus and that only at a later stage did faith in his divinity shape the image we have of him. This impression has by now penetrated deeply into the minds of Christian people at large. Intimate friendship with Jesus, on which everything depends, is in danger of clutching at thin air."
Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, xii, 2006
In effect, Pope Benedict made an astonishing acknowledgment: The two-source hypothesis – which has been taught to seminarians and Catholic college students in all but a few Catholic centers of higher learning for the past fifty years (since Vatican II) – is so detrimental to the faith that it has cast doubt on the very divinity of Jesus to the point where relating to Jesus in prayer may soon seem like “clutching at thin air.”
In “How Can We Save Catholic Higher Education?” Catholic Professor Wolfgang Grassl, Ph.D. wrote, in 2014:
"Faith has been, and continues to be, driven out of Catholic campuses . . . The few remaining [Catholic faculty members] are becoming lonely, increasingly isolated from the centers of influence, and sometimes even embattled . . . God has largely been driven out of the academic enterprise . . . too many Catholic universities are now Catholic in name only."
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