Saturday, February 08, 2014

Lumen Fidei

"Lumen Fidei" (light of faith) is the first encyclical of Pope Francis, though Francis admits that it was mostly written by Benedict, his predecessor.  And in my usual eccentric way I used part of my secular Sabbath to read it.

There is no doubt we encounter the mind of a real scholar in it. He actually mentions the name of God (YHWH) as given in the Hebrew Bible -- which is bordering on the eccentric in both the Christian and Jewish traditions.  It would appear however to be what YHWH himself wanted according to Psalms 83:18 ("That men may know that thou, whose name alone is Jehovah, art the most high over all the earth" KJV) and other OT passages. That the commandment to respect YHWH's name is taken to require suppression of it is incredibly perverse and would certainly make YHWH throw up his hands if he had any hands.

And Benedict's attempt to reconcile a Septuagint rendering of Isaiah with the Masoretic version is surely heroic, given the obvious divergence.  But the fact that he refers to the Septuagint at all is impressive.  There is a view that the Septuagint  -- or at least part of it -- is based on a text older than the Masoretic version and may hence be closer to the original.

But despite such flashes of unusual scholarship, the encyclical as a whole is quite unoriginal.  Perhaps an encyclical has to be that way.  The encyclical is a very thorough survey of past and present enthusiasm about faith and that is about it.  But that may enthuse others more than it does this hard-hearted old atheist.

Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).


slwlion1 said...

Hey Francis "By this our decree, to be valid IN PERPETUITY,we determine an order that NEVER shall anything be added to,omitted from,or changed in this Missal""And if anyone would nevertheless ever dare to attempt any action contrary to this order of ours, given for all times,let him know that he has incurred the wrath of Almighty God, and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul".St Pius V July 19,1570 QUO PRIMUM..This from a Saint no less, and the marxists do otherwise..

Doom said...

Impressive. Not that you read, not the encyclical itself, but a bit of both.

I was a mythologist long before I came to be a believer, after having fallen away from weaker versions of faith, albeit. And it was more story line than belief. So I understand your sentiments about reading such, as an atheist. Of course, we now differ greatly. However, I haven't lost my mythological understandings, I just see more too them, including pagan and lore, as well as theological, and various tongues of the latter. Less fiction than I once believed, if pure truth is... trickier to come by.

Heracles, Kratos, Sampson... same man but different versions, or same line, or all different? What is similar, different. Yeah, not really relevant to your reading, but there are probably... other relational materials from various sources. I am always amazed. The closer I look the more there is to see from so many different peoples and places who must have had either similar situations or seen the same things but coded them differently by their tongue, faith, and level of civilization.

As to the encyclical itself? Well, yeah, as you pointed out, they are more a revised study than a new writ. They try to have a sparkle or two, but surrender mostly to the mundane. Although, occasionally, you will see a new school of thought being very generically exercised, or a particular school of thought being given... a special place. But that is much more technical, akin to spotting a rare species while driving 65, at night, on a narrow road. Doable, just, as rare as it happens... I'm not quite that scholarly, usually. Bleh.

Hmm, have a beer? Or wine? If I can, you can. *grin*

slwlion1 said...

Doom" if addressed to me concerning my ability to read, I assure I can and do.. "as to the encyclical itself", please do not confuse an encyclical to a "Papal Bull", not even remotely the same..As to the remainder of you comments, I will heartily admit I don't have a


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