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My Friendly Friday Questions


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I've been reading about the LDS Articles of Faith, and have a few friendly questions:

  • The LDS Articles of Faith seem very similar to a creed. Is there a difference?
  • Why no mention of the Doctrines & Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?
  • I understand that the Articles of Faith are in the Pearl of Great Price, so again, why no mention of the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?  
  • Article # 8 says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
    • The authority to create the Bible comes from the Catholic Church, and particularly through its apostolic succession and sacred, oral tradition. Doesn't accepting the Bible at all accept Catholic authority on some level? Perhaps LDS folks posit that the Great Apostasy happened after the Bible was settled? After the synods of Hippo, or Carthage, or the Council of Trent?
    • Does Article #8 mean that a "right dividing" of LDS scripture places the Book of Mormon as more authoritative than the Bible? Again, I'm wondering if the Doctrines & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price would then be third as they aren't even mentioned.
    • I understand the Joseph Smith translated the Bible. Isn't his translation "correct?" Is it unfinished? Was it messed with?
    • Is there a list of passages where the Bible translations are known to not be translated incorrectly? Do LDS folks discuss this kind of thing?
    • LDS folks seem to scrutinize Biblical interpretation much more than Biblical translation. This seems to go all the way back to Joseph Smith's evisceration of sola scriptura when he notes that the various Protestant groups were making it impossible to reconcile belief by appealing to the Bible. Is Article #8's reference to translation really more about interpretation?

Please don't feel obligated to address all of these. I'm just trying to put puzzle pieces together as I read the Joseph Smith Rough Rolling book.

Happy Friday!

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31 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I understand that the Articles of Faith are in the Pearl of Great Price, so again, why no mention of the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?  

The Articles of Faith were originally a part of the Wentworth Letter.  They were then published in the Times and Season in Nauvoo.  At that time, the Pearl of Great Price didn't exist.  The Pearl of Great Price was first published in 1851 in England.  It wasn't canonized until 1880.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_of_Great_Price_(Mormonism)

 

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36 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I've been reading about the LDS Articles of Faith, and have a few friendly questions:

  • The LDS Articles of Faith seem very similar to a creed. Is there a difference?

Here's a good article that discusses the history of the thoughts shared in the AoF and some of how those thoughts came to exist in the Wentworth Letter.  It also has a brief explanation at the end as to why the author of the article doesn't view them the same as creeds.

Unlike creeds which are delimiting and dogmatic, the Articles of Faith are living and open. They invite further thought.

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37 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I understand the Joseph Smith translated the Bible. Isn't his translation "correct?" Is it unfinished? Was it messed with?

He died before completing it.  The RLDS (or Community of Christ now), had ownership of it and so they published it and used it.  The LDS gained permission to publish some parts of it and some of those parts are found in the LDS version of the Bible (seen as footnotes, in a section in the back of the Bible, and as the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price).

Also, the "translation" is really more an inspiration or revelation.  He didn't go back to the original languages.  He would go through the KJV and then modify as he was inspired.  It was recently shown that many of his changes are also found in Adam Clarke's commentary so there is currently discussion over what that means.

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44 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

 

  • Article # 8 says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
    • The authority to create the Bible comes from the Catholic Church, and particularly through its apostolic succession and sacred, oral tradition. Doesn't accepting the Bible at all accept Catholic authority on some level? Perhaps LDS folks posit that the Great Apostasy happened after the Bible was settled? After the synods of Hippo, or Carthage, or the Council of Trent?

No, we don't believe that apostasy happened after the Bible was compiled.  That's one of the reasons that we tack "as far as it is translated correctly" onto the end of that article of faith.  We recognize God's hand in creating the bible, but we wouldn't necessarily consider that to be the same as Him giving authority to any religion or person to do so.    

I'm wondering though, do Catholics believe that the authority to create the OT comes from the Catholic church too?  After all, that is also a part of the Bible.

Here's a good explanation of the general church view of the KJV of the Bible that we use today.

"The position of the Church regarding the Bible is that it contains the word of God as far as it is translated correctly (A of F 1:8). Joseph Smith taught that “many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” He also said that the Bible was correct as “it came from the pen of the original writers,” but that “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” The Church reveres and respects the Bible but recognizes that it is not a complete nor entirely accurate record. It affirms also that the Lord has given additional revelation through His prophets in the last days that sustains, supports, and verifies the biblical account of God’s dealings with mankind."

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54 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

The authority to create the Bible comes from the Catholic Church, and particularly through its apostolic succession and sacred, oral tradition. Doesn't accepting the Bible at all accept Catholic authority on some level? Perhaps LDS folks posit that the Great Apostasy happened after the Bible was settled? After the synods of Hippo, or Carthage, or the Council of Trent?

In addition to what bluebell said, the idea that there are books that are missing from the Bible is held by a lot of members.  And some believe that these books will be found and incorporated back into scripture.  So, while we accept the list of books that the early church fathers used, we are open to adding more books.  For example, the Book of Enoch and a few writings from the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by a few members to be scripture.

We are also open to removing books.  Joseph Smith said "The Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings" so there is a possibility that we could remove that book.  We definitely skip over that book in Sunday School.  I don't think I've ever had a lesson on that book, except being told it wasn't inspired (though, I confess, as a young man, it was hard to skip it).

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1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I've been reading about the LDS Articles of Faith, and have a few friendly questions:

  • Does Article #8 mean that a "right dividing" of LDS scripture places the Book of Mormon as more authoritative than the Bible? Again, I'm wondering if the Doctrines & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price would then be third as they aren't even mentioned.

I don't think it considers the Book of Mormon as "more authoritative", and it's not a ranking system.
The D&C isn't less than the Book of Mormon.

The term "As it is translated correctly" refers to how dependable the current texts are.
In the case of the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants there aren't multiple translations of the same original text.

In the Bible the translation chosen can completely change the meaning of a word or phrase.
https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/1 John 1:1

These are all very different.  And there are differences within the Bible too.
And what exactly was written above the Savior's Cross?

(1) This is Jesus the King of the Jews. (Mat. 27:37)
(2) The King of the Jews. (Mark 15:26)
(3) This is the King of the Jews. (Luke 23:38)
(4) Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. (John 19:19)

 

Edited by JLHPROF
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1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I've been reading about the LDS Articles of Faith, and have a few friendly questions:

  • The LDS Articles of Faith seem very similar to a creed. Is there a difference?
  • Why no mention of the Doctrines & Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?
  • I understand that the Articles of Faith are in the Pearl of Great Price, so again, why no mention of the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?  
  • Article # 8 says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
    • The authority to create the Bible comes from the Catholic Church, and particularly through its apostolic succession and sacred, oral tradition. Doesn't accepting the Bible at all accept Catholic authority on some level? Perhaps LDS folks posit that the Great Apostasy happened after the Bible was settled? After the synods of Hippo, or Carthage, or the Council of Trent?
    • Does Article #8 mean that a "right dividing" of LDS scripture places the Book of Mormon as more authoritative than the Bible? Again, I'm wondering if the Doctrines & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price would then be third as they aren't even mentioned.
    • I understand the Joseph Smith translated the Bible. Isn't his translation "correct?" Is it unfinished? Was it messed with?
    • Is there a list of passages where the Bible translations are known to not be translated incorrectly? Do LDS folks discuss this kind of thing?
    • LDS folks seem to scrutinize Biblical interpretation much more than Biblical translation. This seems to go all the way back to Joseph Smith's evisceration of sola scriptura when he notes that the various Protestant groups were making it impossible to reconcile belief by appealing to the Bible. Is Article #8's reference to translation really more about interpretation?

Please don't feel obligated to address all of these. I'm just trying to put puzzle pieces together as I read the Joseph Smith Rough Rolling book.

Happy Friday!

Unlike a creed, this scripture in and of itself, is not a system religious belief, a formal statement of our beliefs (no one is required to swear belief), nor promoted as a guide for members’ actions.

It is not a complete or exhaustive catechism, so other scriptures are not specified, but would fall under #9.

Accepting the Bible has nothing to do with acknowledging any person's divine authority in preserving the sources and compiling the collection of books, but with acknowledging their good-faith effort and in general, God's assistance. The roll-out of the Great Apostasy was likely gradual (though there are some intentional bad-will steps by some group – see 1 Nephi 13), and could have occurred despite, or likely before, this good-faith effort.

The Gift of the Holy Ghost helps us discern what is right to adopt, how to adopt and apply scripture, etc. The cannon--any of the books therein--is a good substrate for learning the ways of eternal life. The Joseph Smith Translation was not completed and is not part of the canon. The Gift of the Holy Ghost helps us with that, too.

Academic scholarship on Biblical translations has been performed for centuries and is ongoing from multiple sources. #8 acknowledges that not all translations are created equal, and that “translation” also refers to passing down correct traditions (many traditions mentioned in the Bible are not correct in relation to the Beatitudes, for example). As you noted, it could allude to interpretation in that personal and prophetic translation of the text is assisted by the gift of the Holy Ghost, and not always, strictly, by way of scholarly pursuit (i.e., secular, multi-disciplinary approaches -- see the thread about Sunday School!).

Edited by CV75
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2 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

The authority to create the Bible comes from the Catholic Church, and particularly through its apostolic succession and sacred, oral tradition. Doesn't accepting the Bible at all accept Catholic authority on some level? Perhaps LDS folks posit that the Great Apostasy happened after the Bible was settled? After the synods of Hippo, or Carthage, or the Council of Trent?

We view Catholic authority in these regards as a secular or historical authority.  We believe that there are truths that are left out of the Bible, some that were retroactively edited out when monotheism first emerged, and corrupted to hide the fact that God (El) had a wife, Ashera, and a counsel of Gods (including (Yahweh).  This in fact continues to be a translation problem today, rather than an interpretation problem.  "Ashera" is often translated in English Bibles as "Sacred Tree".    "This seems to be in part driven by a modern desire, clearly inspired by the Biblical narratives, to hide Asherah behind a veil once again." 

https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna42147912

The fact that the Israelites believed in a family council of Gods, with El being the Father of the Gods, was intentionally expunged from the bible as religion became further corrupted over time.  Remnants still remain though:

Quote

Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is one of those rare biblical passages that seemingly preserves a vestige of an earlier period in proto-Israelite religion where El and Yahweh were still depicted as separate deities: Yahweh was merely one of the gods of El’s council!

When the Most High (’elyôn) gave to the nations their inheritance, when he separated humanity, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of divine beings. For Yahweh’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.

http://contradictionsinthebible.com/are-yahweh-and-el-the-same-god/

El was the Father and worshipped by Isra-El (wrestles with God).  He had a wife who was worshipped even in Yahweh's temple.  Overtime, El was assimilated into and became Jahweh.  They became one and the same, even though El was historically the Father God and they were distinct Gods in the High counsel of Gods.  Ahirah, the wife of El, become the wife of Yahweh as that assimilation occured.  And eventually Asherah to was removed.  Both the Father and Mother were removed and all that was left was Yahweh.  Monotheism.    

We don't believe the same retrospective editing happened in the Book of Mormon.  It also don't suffer from translation errors like we see with Asherah-Sacred tree. 

Edited by pogi
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1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

I've been reading about the LDS Articles of Faith, and have a few friendly questions:

  • The LDS Articles of Faith seem very similar to a creed. Is there a difference?

In structure, not really. Growing up there used to be a bit of Protestant-flavouring to Latter-day Saint discussion of creeds, treatment them as bad things generally. I think the general consensus now is that statements or confessions of faith are fine so long as they're written and authorized under apostolic/prophetic authority. Using one of the First Vision accounts, for example, God doesn't say that He has a problem with creeds generally, but "their creeds" specifically.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
  • Why no mention of the Doctrines & Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?


Historicity, more than anything. The Pearl of Great Price was not compiled until after the Articles of Faith were published, and the idea of the "standard works" had not fully been conceptualized. The revelations that comprised the D&C at that time were there, and a lot had been accepted by the membership by vote, but insofar as it was singular "scripture" vs. a collection of revelations it was more the latter. Sorta like how all the pieces were in place for the current Nicene Creed at the time of the 1st Council of Nicea, but they didn't get formalized until the 1st Council of Constantinople. I suppose the Presidency of the Church could update it to include the D&C and Pearl of Great Price if they wished.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
  • I understand that the Articles of Faith are in the Pearl of Great Price, so again, why no mention of the Pearl of Great Price in the Articles of Faith?  

See above. The Pear of Great Price was not conceived as a stand-alone work at the time the Articles were written.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
  • Article # 8 says, “We believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly; we also believe the Book of Mormon to be the word of God.”
    • The authority to create the Bible comes from the Catholic Church, and particularly through its apostolic succession and sacred, oral tradition. Doesn't accepting the Bible at all accept Catholic authority on some level? Perhaps LDS folks posit that the Great Apostasy happened after the Bible was settled? After the synods of Hippo, or Carthage, or the Council of Trent?

I'm not sure why it would. The use of the Masoretic text for the Old Testament in the Catholic New American Bible of the New Jerusalem Bible doesn't imply that that Catholics accept Rabbinic authority on some level, nor does the early use of the Septuagint mean that Church Fathers accepted the authority of Alexandrian scribes. The Latter-day Saint conception of the apostasy doesn't mean other churches can't "get it right" when it comes to preserving, transcribing, and organizing scripture. Nor does it leave us beholden to their authority. A bishop can get it right on scripture, and get it wrong on other points of doctrine. To the extent that scripture is correct, we thank the early Catholic and Orthodox Fathers for their work and for heeding the Holy Spirit.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
    • Does Article #8 mean that a "right dividing" of LDS scripture places the Book of Mormon as more authoritative than the Bible? Again, I'm wondering if the Doctrines & Covenants and Pearl of Great Price would then be third as they aren't even mentioned.

I wouldn't say that. The "as far as it is translated correctly" clause is really a way of saying, "we believe the parts of the Bible that were prophetically authorized." I also happen to believe the same about the Book of Mormon. With regards to the D&C and Pearl of Great Price, those don't need to be mentioned in the Articles of Faith to be considered authoritative. The First Council of Nicea isn't rendered unauthoritative by later councils just because it doesn't mention monothelitism. The D&C and Pearl of Great Price have all been canonized through accepted processes in the Church.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
    • I understand the Joseph Smith translated the Bible. Isn't his translation "correct?" Is it unfinished? Was it messed with?

I prefer to look at the Joseph Smith Translation as an inspired commentary. Commentary isn't "less valid," it just means that you can read the original translations next to what Joseph Smith said and gain knowledge thereby. And yes, the Joseph Smith translation of the Bible was ongoing until his death. There is some reservation about publishing it as a separate text in the Church because a lot of the translation was not in our hands for a number of years, but held by the Community of Christ.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
    • Is there a list of passages where the Bible translations are known to not be translated incorrectly? Do LDS folks discuss this kind of thing?

Not an official list, no. Yeah, we talk about it in places like Sunday School.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:
    • LDS folks seem to scrutinize Biblical interpretation much more than Biblical translation. This seems to go all the way back to Joseph Smith's evisceration of sola scriptura when he notes that the various Protestant groups were making it impossible to reconcile belief by appealing to the Bible. Is Article #8's reference to translation really more about interpretation?

I think that's accurate. Most members seem content with the KJV. I'm the odd-one out in my ward, as I did a major in early Christian literature before taking a wildly different career path during my master's and now-PhD. I really do think Joseph Smith meant translation in Article #8. If you read some of his sermons, especially his later one, he's always talking about different translations. He really liked the German ones.

1 hour ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Please don't feel obligated to address all of these. I'm just trying to put puzzle pieces together as I read the Joseph Smith Rough Rolling book.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

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3 hours ago, webbles said:

We are also open to removing books.  Joseph Smith said "The Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings" so there is a possibility that we could remove that book.  We definitely skip over that book in Sunday School.  I don't think I've ever had a lesson on that book, except being told it wasn't inspired (though, I confess, as a young man, it was hard to skip it).

I read through the Song of Solomon first when I was reading the Old Testament cover to cover, but didn't give it much thought.  But about 12 years ago, a non-member friend at work invited me to participate regularly in their weekly Bible study (there were anywhere from five to ten people that attended, and I was the only Latter-day Saint in the group), and one time they picked Song of Solomon as one of the books to cover.  Because our Bible study was thorough (we covered only one or two chapters a week), I dove in to try to find deeper meaning in the book.  I was amused at the attempts by commentators to try to find some symbolism in the book.  I think I might have also been able to buy into the deeper meaning if I was a pot smoker (but I'm not!!)  :) 

It's kind of funny (or creepy?) to read as an adult.  The "beloved" is essentially a peeping Tom and a stalker (2:9, "he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, showing himself through the lattice"), and the watchman of the city seems to be after him (3:3, 5:7). 

Edited by InCognitus
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On 6/10/2022 at 8:16 AM, Saint Bonaventure said:

The LDS Articles of Faith seem very similar to a creed. Is there a difference?

Very much different.

Joseph was asked by a newspaper to summarize some of our beliefs.

He wrote a letter back to the newspaper, including that list of our beliefs.

It's just that- a quick summary or outline of some beliefs 

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On 6/10/2022 at 11:52 AM, bluebell said:

The Articles of Faith essentially come from the end of a letter that Joseph Smith wrote to someone to explain the history of the church and what church members basically believed.  (The Wentworth Letter).  The letter was written in 1842.

At that time, the Doctrine and Covenants was published as a book of revelations but I don't think most really saw it as scripture yet in the same way that the BOM and Bible was considered scripture.  It wasn't canonized until 1880.

Likewise, the Pearl of Great Price began as a mission pamphlet and was first printed in 1851.  It wasn't canonized until the same time as the D&C (1880).

So that's why the Articles of Faith don't mention either book.

 

If I'm understanding, the Articles of Faith have historical and general value, but don't need to be updated and aren't really used as a measuring stick for orthodox belief. 

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On 6/10/2022 at 12:00 PM, webbles said:

He died before completing it.  The RLDS (or Community of Christ now), had ownership of it and so they published it and used it.  The LDS gained permission to publish some parts of it and some of those parts are found in the LDS version of the Bible (seen as footnotes, in a section in the back of the Bible, and as the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price).

Also, the "translation" is really more an inspiration or revelation.  He didn't go back to the original languages.  He would go through the KJV and then modify as he was inspired.  It was recently shown that many of his changes are also found in Adam Clarke's commentary so there is currently discussion over what that means.

If Joseph Smith used Adam Clarke's commentary is that a theological or faith-centered problem? Unless he made claims otherwise, couldn't it just be that he was midrashing within the pages of the Bible and was keen on Adam Clarke's commentary? I wouldn't call that sort of thing a translation, but it's not like it hasn't been done before.

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On 6/10/2022 at 12:06 PM, bluebell said:

No, we don't believe that apostasy happened after the Bible was compiled.  That's one of the reasons that we tack "as far as it is translated correctly" onto the end of that article of faith.  We recognize God's hand in creating the bible, but we wouldn't necessarily consider that to be the same as Him giving authority to any religion or person to do so. 

Interesting. The Catholic Church is open to more accurate translations, but maintains that:  "God is the author of sacred Scripture because He inspired its human authors; He acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error His saving truth" (CCC, 136).

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2 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

Interesting. The Catholic Church is open to more accurate translations, but maintains that:  "God is the author of sacred Scripture because He inspired its human authors; He acts in them and by means of them. He thus gives assurance that their writings teach without error His saving truth" (CCC, 136).

Yes, we differ from the Catholic church on that quite a bit.  :) 

We tend to view anything that comes through fallible men and women as being fallible as well.  We just also believe that God can work with that fallibility and bring about His purposes anyway.

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26 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

If I'm understanding, the Articles of Faith have historical and general value, but don't need to be updated and aren't really used as a measuring stick for orthodox belief. 

They are a general overview of our basic beliefs, and someone would probably get pushback for claiming to be a member and not espousing them in some situations, but they wouldn't be kicked out or have to go talk to the bishop or anything like that.

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On 6/10/2022 at 12:06 PM, bluebell said:

I'm wondering though, do Catholics believe that the authority to create the OT comes from the Catholic church too?  After all, that is also a part of the Bible.

Here's a good explanation of the general church view of the KJV of the Bible that we use today.

"The position of the Church regarding the Bible is that it contains the word of God as far as it is translated correctly (A of F 1:8). Joseph Smith taught that “many important points touching the salvation of men, had been taken from the Bible, or lost before it was compiled.” He also said that the Bible was correct as “it came from the pen of the original writers,” but that “ignorant translators, careless transcribers, or designing and corrupt priests have committed many errors.” The Church reveres and respects the Bible but recognizes that it is not a complete nor entirely accurate record. It affirms also that the Lord has given additional revelation through His prophets in the last days that sustains, supports, and verifies the biblical account of God’s dealings with mankind."

The short answer to your question is that:

  • In Jesus' day, the Jews had not agreed on a canon. The Sadducees only believed the Pentateuch was scripture, the Pharisees were much more expansive, and the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls were more expansive still.
  • The NT writers almost exclusively used the Greek Septuagint--they cited it some 340 times and only cited the Hebrew OT text 33 times--and so the Church used the Septuagint from the beginning. There's more to this story as regarding St. Jerome, Martin Luther, and the Hebrew text of the OT, and I am willing to go there as necessary.
  •  The Catholic Church settled the canon for the entire Bible through a series of councils and decrees. It believes it has the authority to do through apostolic succession:
    • 382 A.D.: Pope Damasus, in response to the Council of Rome, writes a decree that lists the canon of 73 books of the present OT and NT.
    •  393 A.D. The local Council of Hippo approves the present 73 books of the OT and NT.
    • 397 A.D.: The local Council of Carthage approves the present canon of 73 books.
    • 405 A.D.: Pope Innocent I confirms the same 73 books as approved at Hippo and Carthage.
    • 419 A.D.: A second local Council of Carthage approves the same 73 books.
    • 1441 A.D.: The ecumenical Council of Florence formally defines the same list of 73 books.
    • 1546 A.D.: The ecumenical Council of Trent formally defines the same 73 books as the canon of the Bible. This is where Martin Luther, and his objection to the deuterocanonical books, the Epistle of St. James, etc. enters the story.
    • 1869 A.D.: The ecumenical First Vatican Council reaffirms Trent's list.  

I hope I'm conveying the notion, that, from a Catholic perspective, it is through the Catholic Church that other Christians have a Bible at all.

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9 minutes ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

The short answer to your question is that:

  • In Jesus' day, the Jews had not agreed on a canon. The Sadducees only believed the Pentateuch was scripture, the Pharisees were much more expansive, and the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls were more expansive still.
  • The NT writers almost exclusively used the Greek Septuagint--they cited it some 340 times and only cited the Hebrew OT text 33 times--and so the Church used the Septuagint from the beginning. There's more to this story as regarding St. Jerome, Martin Luther, and the Hebrew text of the OT, and I am willing to go there as necessary.
  •  The Catholic Church settled the canon for the entire Bible through a series of councils and decrees. It believes it has the authority to do through apostolic succession:
    • 382 A.D.: Pope Damasus, in response to the Council of Rome, writes a decree that lists the canon of 73 books of the present OT and NT.
    •  393 A.D. The local Council of Hippo approves the present 73 books of the OT and NT.
    • 397 A.D.: The local Council of Carthage approves the present canon of 73 books.
    • 405 A.D.: Pope Innocent I confirms the same 73 books as approved at Hippo and Carthage.
    • 419 A.D.: A second local Council of Carthage approves the same 73 books.
    • 1441 A.D.: The ecumenical Council of Florence formally defines the same list of 73 books.
    • 1546 A.D.: The ecumenical Council of Trent formally defines the same 73 books as the canon of the Bible. This is where Martin Luther, and his objection to the deuterocanonical books, the Epistle of St. James, etc. enters the story.
    • 1869 A.D.: The ecumenical First Vatican Council reaffirms Trent's list.  

I hope I'm conveying the notion, that, from a Catholic perspective, it is through the Catholic Church that other Christians have a Bible at all.

You are definitely conveying that belief from the Catholic perspective, yes.

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On 6/10/2022 at 1:27 PM, halconero said:

I'm not sure why it would. The use of the Masoretic text for the Old Testament in the Catholic New American Bible of the New Jerusalem Bible doesn't imply that that Catholics accept Rabbinic authority on some level, nor does the early use of the Septuagint mean that Church Fathers accepted the authority of Alexandrian scribes. The Latter-day Saint conception of the apostasy doesn't mean other churches can't "get it right" when it comes to preserving, transcribing, and organizing scripture. Nor does it leave us beholden to their authority. A bishop can get it right on scripture, and get it wrong on other points of doctrine. To the extent that scripture is correct, we thank the early Catholic and Orthodox Fathers for their work and for heeding the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I hope I can clarify a bit on my end too:

  • Catholics believe that God communicated through public revelation that was both written and oral, and that these forms of public revelation occurred during OT times, NT times, and up to the death of the last apostle.
  • Within that first bullet point (above) there are four ideas embedded:
    • The written form of public revelation is Sacred Scripture, that is, Sacred Scripture is divine revelation that was written down under inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
    • Sacred Tradition is divine revelation that was not written down, but it has nonetheless been faithfully transmitted by the Church from the beginning.  
    • The Church's teaching authority, known as the Magisterium, ensures that Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition are received without corruption and are interpreted correctly. 
    • Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium all stand together and "contribute effectively to the salvation of souls."

Here's the passage from the Catechism on this:

Quote

It is clear therefore that, in the supremely wise arrangement of God, sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium of the Church are so connected and associated that one of them cannot stand without the others. Working together, each in its own way, under the action of the one Holy Spirit, they all contribute effectively to the salvation of souls. (CCC, 95)

You can know how central these ideas are to Catholicism by my use of capitalization.

The Sacred Tradition and Magisterium elements are primary points of separation between Catholics and Protestants (hence, sola scriptura).

I hope this gives a little insight into my questions about LDS prophets and oral/written statements from a few weeks ago. At that time, I was also wondering if the top LDS leaders claim a Magisterium-like authority. 

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2 hours ago, Saint Bonaventure said:

If Joseph Smith used Adam Clarke's commentary is that a theological or faith-centered problem? Unless he made claims otherwise, couldn't it just be that he was midrashing within the pages of the Bible and was keen on Adam Clarke's commentary? I wouldn't call that sort of thing a translation, but it's not like it hasn't been done before.

For some people, the use of Adam Clarke's commentary is a faith problem.  There is still debate on whether he actually used it.

And yes, I don't really consider it a translation. It has been called the Inspired Version which I think fits better.

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On 6/10/2022 at 12:17 PM, webbles said:

In addition to what bluebell said, the idea that there are books that are missing from the Bible is held by a lot of members.  And some believe that these books will be found and incorporated back into scripture.  So, while we accept the list of books that the early church fathers used, we are open to adding more books.  For example, the Book of Enoch and a few writings from the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered by a few members to be scripture.

We are also open to removing books.  Joseph Smith said "The Songs of Solomon are not inspired writings" so there is a possibility that we could remove that book.  We definitely skip over that book in Sunday School.  I don't think I've ever had a lesson on that book, except being told it wasn't inspired (though, I confess, as a young man, it was hard to skip it).

St. John Paul II gave several teachings on the Song of Songs that are well-regarded. They have been published as part of his Theology of the Body.

 

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On 6/10/2022 at 1:27 PM, halconero said:

I think that's accurate. Most members seem content with the KJV. I'm the odd-one out in my ward, as I did a major in early Christian literature before taking a wildly different career path during my master's and now-PhD. I really do think Joseph Smith meant translation in Article #8. If you read some of his sermons, especially his later one, he's always talking about different translations. He really liked the German ones.

I have a KJV so I can increase the comfort level when my LDS family members visit and our inevitable, and interesting, discussions of religion happen. In my hair-brained opinion, Paul is pretty much butchered in the KJV. 

I use an RSV as my main Bible, but also have an NRSV that includes the additional canonical books of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches.

Did Joseph Smith like Luther's Bible? I could see why native German speakers would like a German Bible, but a native English Speaker preferring a German Bible? I must not understand.

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