Wednesday - August 17, 2016
“I recommend that my relatives send their college-bound children to secular colleges where they will have to fight for their faith, rather than to Catholic colleges where it will be stolen from them.”
— Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen – 1972 
Jerome D. Gilmartin – August 11, 2016
Until the mid-20th century the Catholic Church accepted this testimony of second-century Bishop Irenaeus and others:
Apostle-eyewitnesses Matthew and John wrote the Gospels that bear their names, as did Mark (Peter) and Luke (Paul).
By the 1960s, however, the Historical-Critical Method of biblical exegesis had become dominant, in particular the Two-Source Hypothesis, which held that:
No eyewitness to the ministry of Jesus wrote a Gospel. All four originated in Greek and were written by unknown second-generation Christians who had never seen or heard Jesus.
In the late 1960s, soon after Vatican II, many Catholic seminaries and universities began to teach the HCM exclusively, in particular the Two-Source Hypothesis. The speculation that the Gospels originated with “unknown, second generation“ writers resulted in many books, articles and much instruction that cast doubt on the teaching, miracles and divinity of Jesus; even on his Resurrection. As a result, many seminarians and Catholic college students lost their faith and continue to lose it today (See the recent “Dear Jerome” message below from a Catholic priest).
But other scholars had long recognized many Semitisms in the Canonical Greek Gospels – indications of early origin in Hebrew or Aramaic. Such study was aided after 1947 by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls which gave a more precise knowledge of the Hebrew and Aramaic of the time of Christ. As Catholic priest and Semitism scholar abbé Jean Carmignac wrote in 1984:
The Gospels therefore have been redacted earlier than is customarily claimed. They are much closer to the events. They have a historical value of prime importance. They contain the witness of disciples who followed and listened to Jesus. 
And R. Steven Notley, Ph.D., eminent Semitism scholar and Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Nyack College, wrote in 2014:
In the light of a century of archaeological discovery, which has seen a sea change in scholarship’s understanding of the languages of first-century Judea, the time has arrived for New Testament Scholarship to rethink its working model for the linguistic environment of the Gospels. , 
And, without relying on Semitisms, biblical historian Brant Pitre, Ph.D., Professor of Sacred Scripture at Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, reached the same conclusion in 2016:
In essence, there are compelling historical reasons to conclude that the Gospels are not the late first-century end products of a long chain of anonymous storytelling. Instead they are ancient biographies written by the students of Jesus and their followers, written well within the lifetimes of the apostles and eyewitnesses to Jesus. 
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